CP's Guide To Festival Raving

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Greetings Festival Sasspots! 

Watch me perform at Bass Coast X with Sweet Soul Burlesque 8:30 PM at Radio Stage and hosting MAIN STAGE with a solo performance at 9:40 PM -- BOTH on SATURDAY JULY 7

Welcome to The Crystal Precious First Timer's Guide to Festival Raving: 2018 Edition!! 

STREAM or DOWNLOAD the podcast version


This guide is intended for anyone heading out to a festival for the very first time, or for anyone wanting a little refresher and hopefully a laugh or two at my horrifying trial and errors. With edits, new intro, and super important info I somehow missed earlier (like how simply brushing your teeth can somehow re-set your whole mood out there -- no ACTUALLY, it works), this comprehensive list will help you can spend less time learning all the practical preparation shit  so you can spend more time discovering the most amazing stages, music and people EVERRRR!!! BEHOLD, the glory of the internet! Howwww pleasant. 

PLEASE SHARE, post, forward, etc. and if you feel like this has been useful or improved your life in any way, toss me a buck or two on my Patreon! That would be SO awesome. Thaaaaaank you!!!  

PS: If reading isn't your thing or you're hella busy, might I suggest the podcast version in which I schoolin' festy newb / Lost Girls burlesque babe Bunny Sumpthin over MANY glasses of wine.  And while you're at it, check out my other episodes and blast them on the way to the festival, or while packing, or while sunbathing naked. For all you who are reading, LET'S GET STARTED.  

 

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MCing the 2010 Bass Coast Mud Wrestling Competition

IT's THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN.

As a former Winnipegger, I still often indulge in dramatically describing the near culture-shock I suffered upon my transition from the ghetto Manitoba flatlands to the organic-eating-MEC-wearing-non-smoking-bicycle-luvin’ Coast. Let me tell you tho, NOTHING could have prepared me for my initial foray into the unparalleled West Coast phenomenon of “big outdoor electronic music party”. So in honour of 15 years passing since my first Shambhala and in honour of the FUCKING EXCELLENT Bass Coast Project (which is my favourite ever and gonna be so so so amazing this year, I'm seriously dying as usual) I've updated my Winnipegger’s Guide to Shambhala, or as it will now be called, “The Crystal Precious First Timer's Guide to Festival Raving”. 


I’m genuinely excited for you to have an amazing and hopefully enlightening weekend that you’ll never forget. Cause trust me, the first time I hit Shambhala (the mecca of all Canadian raves) I sure as fuck did. Basically, this kind of outdoor festival is a whole temporary community and infrastructure coming together so that people can enjoy super cool underground art, music and experiences with each other IN THE MOST IDEAL SETTING EVER --- aka perfect nature and sexy, smart / conscious / open-minded people everywhere, and not a corporate advertisement in sight!! Yahh!! Party all day and night at multiple stages with the best sound systems ever with mountains, beaches, forests all my best friends and camp in between? UM... YES PLEASE. 


Cue 2003. You have NO idea how clueless I was. Oh geez. I ran in head first thinking, "Hey, it’s not like I’m completely hopeless! I HAVE been to the Winnipeg Folk Festival", and THAT, as all prairie folk will know, is a pretty impressive outdoor music party. Well, LISTEN THE FUCK UP: this is NOT Folk Fest, bitches. It's not your average giant outdoor concert either.   Do not increase your chances of experiencing the awful FOMO (fear-of-missing-out due to lack of preparation). Don't forget that you're spending your precious dollars, time off and serotonin on this. Let me be the sorry ass-bitch that learned the hard way for both of us. Here are the most important things to remember if you’re headin’ out to a multi-day electronic music fest.  

 

1. THERE ARE NO CAMP FIRES. This is the biggest difference from Wpg Folk Fest and a glaringly absent part of the camping experience. Apparently the people in this province actually care if everything around them burns down where as in Manitoba people purposely burn shit down all the time. But for real, there will not be any fires anywhere… so that means you will need LIGHT and HEAT. Bring LIGHT FOR YOUR CAMP (a flashlight, heandlamp, LED’s or a LANTERN), your personal flashlight so you don't fall into a giant hole to your waist like Cara did one time (SO ALARMING). Make sure someone in your crew has a CAMP STOVE if you’re wanting to cook shiz. And remember you won't have the heat of the fire. So bring warm clothes .... because..


2) It gets FUCKING COLD at night. Cold is something we Wpggers know about and we laugh maniacally at the idea that it gets uncomfortably cold anywhere in BC in the summer, but TRUST ME, it does. I brought about 10 000 bikinis the first year and one sweater… DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE!!!! Bring long pants, warm leggings or long underwear, SWEATERS/HOODIES, little mitties even (for real) and lots of shiz to sleep in. You will be cold. Honest. And I'm not some BC wimp either. .. no offense. 


BEDDING SET-UP NOTE: If you can, I absolutely recommend bringing straight-up sheets and a heavy blanket or comforter instead of a sleeping bag. If you use the blanket to line the backseat of your vehicle it doesn't really take up much more room... and it's just better. Then you can toss off a layer as the sun comes up and things get hot in your tent. It's also much nicer for guest action or snugs (raver lingo for platonic post-party come-down snuggling). If things get damp overnight you can it hang it to dry during the day. Also a pillow is key. Your bunched up hoodie with the beer spill on it just won't compare, trust me, it's worth the packing room, And I personally recommend a foamie mattress as a first option, but if that's not plausible do the air mattress. I tend to find air mattresses will eventually deflate a bit no matter how diligent you are, so I bought myself the $20 power pump so I just pump it up a bit each night. Worth every effin' penny. Either way, a little layer of air between you and the earth somehow keeps things that much toastier.


It’s SO worth it to have a $5 tarp to lay under your tent so that if it rains, you're doubly sure it won't soak through the floor of your tent, which is SUPER low-sass because it makes things damp and yucky. You should probably be able to get all this stuff into one Rubbermaid stacker. I pretty much pack all my stuff into Rubbermaids (REAL Rubbermaid Roughnecks that last forever, not the cheap plastic crappy ones that crack): one for my tent, tarps and bedding; one for my dry foods, mix and dishes, and oh, say, seven or eight for my outfits and accessories. I'm super dead serious. I need choice ummmkayyyy. 

 

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One of my more subtle stances -- Shambhala 2009

Speaking of outfits and packing layers: while you're in the dance-y areas and busting a move, things can get a bit warmer, although these moments are fleeting. Kind of annoying cuz awesome dance outfits are usual small and/or tight (at least for me they are)... and rocking them with huge sweaters over them is akin to Winnipeg Hallowe'en where your mom forces you to wear your snowsuit OVER your costume to go trick-or-treating (big sadface). One thing the Sweet Soul grrlz have been known to do is wear our sparkly show-girl outfits underneath big fuzzy cloaks sewn out of blankets. Dancing our asses off moments: showgirl outfits. Walking from stage to stage moments: fuzzy cloaks. Another option is to add leggings and shrugs to whatever small outfit. Also just the act of covering your head with a fuzzy hat & keeping your feet dry (more on that in a sec) somehow makes the rest of you feel warmer automatically.

If you plan on being somewhere for awhile, you can set up a home base at the outskirts of say, the beachstage with your crew... bring a blanket on which you can leave your drink, water & extra layers. Just make sure it's in sight and don't leave your moneybelt or fanny there, obvs. That's why those things strap to your body!

In general everyone should generally be on the lookout for each other and each other's stuff… because a huge part of the whole "conscious" / rave / PLUR movement is mutual respect for other people & their shit. Thieving is SUPER SUPER looked down upon (I know I don't have to say that but I will anyway) and if you find something you can turn it in or leave a note on the msg board!! And make a new friend as a result, usually, who will LOVE YOU.  Karma reigns supreme here.

 

 

3) KEEP YOUR FEET HAPPY. Remember that part in Forrest Gump where Lt. Dan starts screaming at everyone about how their socks and feet need to stay dry in the jungle to survive? Well it's the exact same thing, except by "Lt Dan" I mean ME, by "jungle" I mean RAVE & by "survive" I mean NOT BECOME HORRIBLY MISERABLE. 

The sites are quite large; you’ll do a LOT of walking, more than you realize, and dancing on the roots / dirt and the uneven ground can be hard on your feet. Ok so I brought heels the first year. Shut up. I’m Crystal fucking Precious, dammit. I wear heels to the fucking beach. But for real, even if your footwear are SUPER durable and rugged, they will get werked. So don't bring the super fresh shiny kicks you use as a backup mirror. And while we're talking sneakers I would also recommend bringing something other than Chucks as they are made out of canvas and will somehow soak through easily in the morning dampness. AGAIN: Don’t bring shoes you really like unless they’re hella heavy duty leather boots or something. Every year I sacrifice a pair of almost dead sneakers to the rave gods and then throw them out after. 

BRING A PAIR OF RAINBOOTS (and while you're at it, AT LEAST one waterproof jacket / clothing item). The weather forecast might say it won’t rain but.... it might. If it rains, the forest paths become GIANT mud puddles and I lost a pair of sneakers in one the first year I went. They sank in the mud faster than Atrayu’s horse. It was a sad, sad moment for me. DON'T LET THEIR DEATH BE IN VAIN.

So yeah, I generally would say your basic footwear set-up should be as follows: dancing sneakers, flipflops, rubber boots & lots of dry, clean socks. A tip from Tre, king of the original Camp Fuckr'd pirates: Wanna be a hero? Spend a few bucks on a big bag of new socks and bust that shit out for everybody on Day 3. Putting brand new, fuzzy, never before-worn socks on the third day feels like a frickin' foot blowjob. Ohhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhh. 

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Walking one of the many Bass Coast site paths in 2014 - photo by Zipporah Lomax


4) It gets FUCKING HOT during the day. Like, itty bitty teeny weeny bikini bottoms only hot. Bring a shade structure for your camp or you will DIE / get no sleep. At BassCoast there are many many sweet-ass tree-covered camping spots to enjoy if you get there on Friday... but at Shambhala you will most likely end up in the massive NO SHADE camping grounds (unless you're bombing in there Braveheart style on Tuesday and paying extra). Either way, the white caravan style pop up tent is ideal, or the more ghetto fabulous version, a giant tarp tied to bamboo poles slid  over re-bar pounded into the ground. Don't freak out, re-bar is totally no big deal. It's just 3 foot lengths of 1cm thick steel rod you can buy at Home Depot for cheap. Then you pound that shit halfway into the ground with a mallet, slide the bamboo pole over it, and no fall-ey (bamboo is very inexpensive, I suggest Home Hardware on the Drive or pretty much anywhere in ChinaTown). Don't forget garbage bags & a bag for recycling to hang somewhere. For butts, small Tylenol travel tubes do the trick. Make sure to peer pressure your friends not to throw their butts, or any litter, on the ground. A disapproving look should suffice. If not don't be afraid to point a Finger of Judgement at them.

There is a river of refreshing goodness in which to bathe and swim, and the best is bringing a camping chair and sitting in the rivah drinking out of your bottled beverage with lots of sunscreen on. And a parasole. And a cabana boy. Maybe two. Keep your other bevvies cold by putting them in a bag and hooking them around your chair... the river becomes a cooler. WERK.



5) DON'T BECOME DEAF. Ever noticed that after festival season people are screaming normal conversations at each other? "HI HOW ARE YOU!????!!!!" "GREAT!!! YOU??!!!" Yeah... that's because they're deaf now. The sound at these festivals is state of the art, but it WILL destroy your hearing FOREVER if you aren't careful. And the music doesn't stop for four days. So bring earplugs and then bring more earplugs. Let me put this into perspective: the system at the Commodore is like 12000 watts. The PK system in the Village is apparently approx. 100 000 watts, or EIGHT times louder than that. And that's just one stage. Your human ear drums just can't compete with that. They will melt. DON'T BE A DAY-SCREAMER. Get plugs. 

You may have noticed that orange / yellow and pink foam earplugs sort of muffle sound and can fall out and generally suck. Yeah, I noticed that too. They are still always better than nothing. The GOOD thing about foam pluggies is that they are comfortable, cheap and plentiful, so using them when you're sleeping is ideal (don't forget when you’re setting up camp to check if that structure nearby is the trance stage. This seriously happened to me the first year… can’t really talk about it still).

However, if you are feeling like foam plugs are fucking with your ability to hear music properly I would invest in a pair of Ear Buddies (available at all Puff locations). They are about $25 - $30. They just seem to turn everything down a little without muffling things too much. If you feel like the ol' foam plugs aren't gonna do it for you, DO THIS, cuz for real, your hearing is worth $25 for eff's sake. Don't worry, I promise that you will still be able to "feel" the bass (especially if you are on awesome MDMA). 

ALSO: I'm sure that there are some rare exceptions, but in general it seems that people tend to NOT enjoy amplified music, instruments or megaphones early morning in the campground. I mean, obviously people are still going to be up and partying in the morning, but blasting your favourite bro-step banger out the back of your car is sure to get you more dirty looks than throwing a Styrofoam cup in the river (uhhh... prolly don’t do that either). But for real. HEADPHONES - thing. And I still laugh my ass off when I remember a certain DJ, having traveled for about three days and then staying up all night to play, finally found somewhere reasonably quiet to crash, only to have someone set up a djembe near his tent and start hammering on it SUPER HARD at about 8am --- off rhythm. For eff's sake hippie-ahh!!! Drum near the river away from tents at that hour!!! I know you’re contributing your inner rhythm and shit, that's cool, whatever.. but for the LOVE of SASS, pick your moments. Ummkayyy? 

 

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Cherry On Top and I leaning in at The Village (in earplugs!) in 2009


6) GET YOUR BOOZE IN. Officially the events are usually “booze free” and the gate will search you upon arrival, ummmkay??? And they will. Trust. So. Be creative. Bring a tinted, lidded reusable bottle (like the canteen types at MEC) if you want to carry around your beverage as YOU CANNOT drink out of your beer cans / bottles openly ANYWHERE. Security is obligated to dump your booze if they see it, but generally they’ll leave you alone if you’re simply enjoying an unidentifiable beverage in a reusable container. The security works hard enough as it is so take the extra step and don’t make them booze police you, it sucks for them and plus, booze is precious cuz going for a beer run is kind of not really an option… it’s super hard / sometimes impossible to get out of the site once you’ve driven in and are parked. Totes not worth the risk having it dumped out. You'll thank me on Sunday ;)

How much booze should you bring? The general consensus on this formula is to estimate the amount of booze you think you'll be able to drink during the weekend, then double it. Trust me on this. I have no idea why the amount of booze you are able to consume somehow doubles... I think it has to do with being awake for most of the weekend and you being outside all the time. But it really does happen. Don’t skimp on this because you don’t want to be sober on the last day of the event, trust me, it’s depressing enough as it is.

One thing a few of my friends & I been doing the last few years is pre-mixing booze with juice / cocktail bases and then just adding soda or pop on the site. Ex: fill a large jug of cranberry juice with one part vodka, 2 parts cran, reseal and smuggle in. Then just top it off with soda in your cup on site. This is an awesome way to do things for the following 2 reasons: 1) Easier to sneak in booze - no alcohol bottles! 2) Your booze-juice ration remains consistent. Ever notice how at the beginning of the night you pour a proper drink, but somehow near the end of the night you're pouring gasoline-strength nearly straight booze shit-mixes, only to realize that it tastes like poison and then randomly leaving it somewhere? Yeah me too. Trust me, having it at least pre-mixed with juice tends to make your booze LAST LONGER. Obviously don't pre-mix with the pop as it will go flat; add it on site with a fresh lime... and.. ahhh!

Also: grab block ice for your food/beer cooler, not bags of ice cubes, as the blocks melt more slowly. Also in your food cooler, put things in tupperware containers & ziplocs, not plastic bags, if you want them to stay dry. Keep your coolers COMPLETELY CLOSED and out of the sun, and you should be golden. You can even reuse individual plastic water / drink bottles by putting pre-mixed drinks into them and FREEZING them... then throw those into your cooler - alcoholic Ice Packs. YUM!! Extreme Dedicated Raver Tip: A $40 converter for your vehicle turns into electricity for your blender. Yeah, you’ll have to start the car for a few seconds while you blend, but if it means slushie Margarita’s, ummm, WHO GIVES A FUCK. Just don’t go buck crazy and kill your battery by accident. This will require extra ice cubes but oh, will you be SO SO SO popular. OH SO popular. Especially with me. Heh heh heh. 

 

7) WATER IS RAVEFORCE. Pure and simple. Let's talk about why water should be at the base of your EVERY RAVING MOMENT and why people who don't drink enough water are INVITING PAIN AND SUFFERING into their raving lives. (And yes, my voice did totally echo menacingly for that last sentence).


Take a minute to think about much water do you drink every day in regular life. Now... think about if you were CONSTANTLY exercising all day long. You'd drink more right? Now what if you were constantly exercising (because at a festival you kind of are, as outlined in #3 even if it doesn't feel like it), but in the FUCKING HOT SUN (#4)??? Feelin' me? Ok NOW, imagine doing ALL those things WHILE at the SAME TIME guzzling a substance that is in and of itself ALSO actively pulling water out of your system. YEAH. It's a 4 dehydrator stacker: being alive, exercising, sun, and alcohol. That's why nine times out of ten, if you are ever feeling anything except radness at the rave, chances are, water is your answer.


DRINK WATER ALL FUCKING DAY. Like all fucking day. I'm talking AT LEAST refill your bottle ever hour / hour and a half and for SURE whenever you grab a fresh bevvy. Also please note, once again, beer = not water. Cider = not water. Tasty, but not water. Drink your drink, then drink your water, refill both :) This is especially important on the third day when you've been at it all weekend you really need the raveforce for that last night of raging. Cut your water once and awhile with some gatorade, or slam a coconut water or Emergen-C every day to replace your electrolytes, and you'll be maximizing your ability to rave. Rave hard you must.


Now here's something you may not know. Equally as important as drinking that water is getting it out of your bladder. No for real. A lot of what you drink will be taken care of by your quadruple stack of sweat-inducing dehydrators, but one of the major “design” flaws in designer drugs like K and MDMA is that they can lessen that “I have to pee” sensation while you're all blissed out. That combined with being all distracto by oh, I don't know, the GIANT PARTY happening, can make it hard remember to pee sometimes... and that is only further exaggerated by the fact that the porta pottie line-ups do not exactly seeming enticing. But you gotta get that out, its no bueno sittin' having a full bladder all the time for a whole wack of reasons. Gotta P on K ummmkayyy? Conveniently those two letters are printed on pretty much every one of those crazy awesome speakers at Shambs so hopefully that can serve as your effin' reminder from now on. :) 


I personally find if I look at a porta pottie trip as “something I'm doing now” as opposed to looking at it like “leaving the party to pee”, it can actually be kinda fun and a place to meet new peeps, especially cuz you're not in front of a massive speaker and can actually say things to each other. Honestly I've met some rad people in line-ups and had some pretty hilarious times. Line-ups are just part of the adventure of going to giant festivals, so take advantage of it any way you can. And this should go without saying but if you are going for a re-up at camp, ALWAYS ALWAYS just try to pee... you may be surprised what's in there! 

 

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Neon ninja 1 of 7! Crew outfits in 2008


8) TRY TO AVOID THE TEMPTING FALL-BACK THAT YOU’LL BUY THINGS WHEN YOU GET THERE. Smokes and essentials will be mad expensive, so take a sec and pack it. There are rad things to eat there at the vendors, but peeps usually pay top dollar to get into the vending area so they will have to charge accordingly. 


If you smoke, the same booze formula applies: Normal estimated amount X 2. And I don't smoke anymore, but I'm not going to pretend I won't want smokes when I'm effed up. That's just bullshit. :) I seriously advise on considering DRUM or loose tobacco and rolling papers if they do the trick for you. Yeah if you’re not used to it it can seem messy, but the tobacco is fresher, less additives, and you’ll probably tend to smoke less, which in raver math is still more than usual but just maybe not double. Your lungs will thank you on Sunday. Also you will be more inclined to share smokes, and there’s nothing like sitting with someone for a sec to roll both of you a smoke. Perfect visit / get-to-know-you moment and you will be someone’s nic-fit hero... a nice feeling. If you're a tailor-mades, bring a carton and hide half the packs from yourself until you go through the first half. If you don’t smoke them all (you probably will but whateves) you will still smoke them eventually. DON’T fall into the all-too-tempting bullshit trap of packing less than you need and thinking that you will ration them out. You won’t. Remember: you will probably forget your own name at some point. So be prepared. Trust me. 


(FYI, if packing stresses you out or you don't know where to start, click here for a downloadable, ammendable, printable Word-doc version of my BASIC PACKING LIST). 

 

9) HAVE A PLAN WHEN CAMPING and RAVING WITH YOUR FRIENDS. When raving with a group, or planning to, its never a bad idea to plan ahead and bring stuff to have a central kind of area in your camp with a shaded table, some camping chairs and a lantern; its somewhere to kind of sit around so you can all tell each other stories when you come back and laugh your asses off. BRING LED LIGHTS, preferably to light up something hilarious sticking up from the tent so you can find your way home. Hunting for your camp when shit is dark and blurry takes up valuable raving time, so make it easy on yourself, self. :)

 

Back in the day, we used to attach to our table a couple of printed out schedules with is a lighter on a string (so that person who always steals it can't) but now of course we all have smartphones hidden back in our tents.  Sometimes if we're feeling REALLY organized we would check out the sched in the morning or at dinner and figure out the DJs that we were sorta planning on seeing that day/night, so that if someone got separated or distracted they would have a general idea as to where we'd be-ish. (That's if we're really organized.) OH YEAH – bring a cheap watch or whatever you used before phones ran our lives, because I STRONGLY suggest taking a break from your phone the whole time. It is awesome, for real, try it. Keeping track of your phone is annoying, and besides, people don't generally like having their pic taken while they're high. I totally don't. Also then you won't have to worry about dropping it on a dance floor or putting it down somewhere and then wasting time looking for it. Just leave it hidden at camp eh?

 

During the day at the beach, you can bring a land-marker and dig that into the ground on another piece of bamboo / beach umbrella. Then your crew can find you easily. Again, I recommend something that is symbolic to you or perhaps pokes fun at something about your crew. That way when Sleepy Gonzales wakes up at 4pm or wanders back to camp, he sees the landmarker's gone and he can easily saunter to the beach stage with one eye open and see you guys. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE THERE. 

 

One important thing.. when that final last night comes, ALWAYS have a conversation with your crew as to when clean / pack up should be the next day BEFORE you head out for the night. This is because you will NOT want to talk about it after you've been up all night and your adrenaline has died and the harsh cold reality of leaving has hit you. You will be grouchy and annoyed, and you also won't want to look for your friends to get things happening. Reeks of effort, trust. Packing up itself is hard enough. So make a general time-frame plan for the next day pack up BEFORE sun goes down and then come back for it and stick to it. You can always leave later in the day if you guys decide to; but at least you'll be packed up, together. 


THIS IS A BIG ONE TAKE ALLLLL (ALL) YOUR SHIT WITH YOU. All. Apparently breaking that unwritten rule is seriously frowny-faced upon and your neighbours and organizers point the aforementioned Finger of Judgement at you for it after. I learned that the hard and very embarrassing way my first year.. fear the shame my friends. Fear it. The Finger will point at your abandoned broken tent or your uneaten watermelon / fruit rinds (it will not "biodegrade" for like 3 months umkay. Leaving that shit is just summoning a bug rave). The Finger will also point at your garbage/recycling if you don't take it with you or put it EXACTLY where it's supposed to go. Organizers (and their Fingers) pay attention because they have to clean up your shit while swearing and asking everyone "whose camp this was". Don't let it be yours. 

 

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Dollhouse Camp identifyer before I added LEDS, 2008


10) BE PREPARED TO LOSE YOUR FRIENDS, because at some point you will. Try to just BE OKAY about that. Go with the flow. The first year I went to Shambs I probably spent about two thirds of the time kinda stressed out looking for my friends and one third actually enjoying the party. Don't do that. Enjoy the party. Relax. Take the opportunity to explore the stages and grounds on your own terms for a minute; meet new people! Getting lost / solo missions are actually REALLY key parts of any festival experience for that reason alone. This is also one of the biggest reasons I recommend dress-ups. It’s like SOO way easier to meet peopleand then find your friends when you are in their proximity, and also I’m MUCH more likely to make-out with you. 

 

A FEW WORDS ON GETTING READY AND MOVING AROUND WITH A GROUP: One of the things I see the most this people or couples getting irritated with each other because one feels like they are constantly waiting for the other to finish dawdling or getting ready. To be fair, looking fabulous/ridiculous/badass takes much-appreciated effort. Doing it while being super high can take a hot fucking minute ummmkay. Trust me, I understand. Unfortunately during that minute you or your friend's favorite DJ could be finishing, so I have some tried and true tips on minimizing getting-ready time in the next paragraph. In the meantime this is a great opportunity to use your communication skills with your crew so you don't have them angrily breathing down your neck. AKA: be honest about what you need to do and how long its going to take.

 

If everyone is getting ready to go out for the night, for example, confer and decide as a group when you are all wanting to leave (this will take some compromise, but BE as HONEST about it as you can and negotiate something realistic. If its not realistic, plan to go in two groups, or whatever). Then STICK TO THE PLAN. That means that if time you agreed on comes and you're still not ready, you have to BE OK with them leaving without you. Sawwwry 'bout it. But again, don't be afraid to split up if necessary... see previous paragraph. Same goes if you want to get somewhere and your group/partner in crime keeps stopping to play or talk to people and it's frustrating you. Be honest with what you want to do, and then if they don't feel like they want to rush, COMMUNICATE verbally with them, and then just leave them do their thing... and go do yours. It's all good.

 

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Impromptu mohawk club! Living Room Stage 2007 with the amazing Paul Hendricks 

 

11) FOR THE DRESSER-UPPERS & THEIR FRIENDS – MINIMIZE "WAITING FRIEND FRUSTRATION"


NO ONE likes being the one people are waiting on. It makes getting ready kind of stressful when it could be fun. I understand that waiting is also kind of annoying, so I've collected some tips on getting ready fast while not skimping on all the fun parts.

Firstly. You know that thing you do with your friends before you go out where you try shit on and then you look at it and go “Hmm. I don't know. Do you like this? What do you think? Do you like this with that? What about this one? Blah blah”? Yah. That stuff is super fun, but the rave is more fun. You can TOTALLY do that stuff at home the week before and will save you LOADS of time at the rave. Don't underestimate how much time that wastes, for real... and its time-consuming enough without adding hallucinogens, for example. DO THAT SHIT AT HOME FIRST. Have your peeps over with a giant bottle of wine and go through your outfits. Put outfits and accessories together – some for hot weather, some for cold. 

 

NOTE: You don't have to plan WHEN you are wearing everything during the weekend... just which things you are wearing together. I generally like to leave it open and just go with my mood when the time comes, in case I feel like wearing Outfit B instead of Outfit A.

 

Next step: put everything for one outfit, INCLUDING underwear, socks, sweater etc etc .. like, EVERYTHING for that look, into a GIANT CLEAR ZIPLOC. You can buy pillow sized ones at Canadian Tire, no joke, they have new big sizes. Then put the matching accessories into tiny bags or tubberwares and pop 'em in the bag too. I'm so serious. This might seem extreme, but trust, this saves you SO SO much time for 2 reasons: 1) rifling around in a tent is THE WORST, especially if its dark. UM, no. One of the first times I did acid at a rave I'm pretty sure I looked for my shit in my tent for half the party, just looking in bag after bag, and forgetting what was in the first bag, and then starting over. FUCK THAT SHIT. With clear bags you can see immediately what is in which bag without having to look in each one 40 billion times. 2) Having everything you need all together in one place is a HUGE TIME SAVER because you won't have to hunt for each little piece separately. Just decide on the outfit, pour yourself a bevvy, take the bag out, and enjoy putting everything on. Put on your accessories, little eyeliner, etc etc, annnnnd... YOU'RE DONE. See? You look fabulous.

 

This isn't to say you need to be super anal and stick to the plan. You can always switch things up or just play dressup and explore / discover new combos if that's what you feel like doing. But honestly its really overwhelming when you're at the rave and there's so much to do and see... so do yourself and the people you are with a solid and have a plan so you can RAVE MORE and STRESS LESS.

 

Two last little things: make-up and hair for the night I recommend doing in that last little bit of daylight, while you're digesting your dinner. Way easy. Oh also don't try to put on fake eyelashes if you're high without supervision because you will spend wayyy too much time on it, and be very careful to have clean fingers and use clean surfaces, otherwise you're basically gluing dirt and bacteria to your eye. DON'T SHARE EYELINER or MASCARA AT THE RAVE either. Unless you want a giant eye infection like my awesome and cute buddy Rebecca got last year. :) Wasn't fun for her, even though it was kind of cute and made her face look squishy. 

 

 

12) ENJOY THE FOLLOWING AMENITIES: distinct LACK of MOSQUITOES (!!!!! although I'm from Wpg and 500 is still a lack, so still bring some Muskol just in case), water (bring reusable bottles!), organic / vegan food vendors, coffee vendors, the lovely rivah, medical tent, etc. etc. 

 

Particularly for Bass Coast, there likely will only be one cash machine, so try to BRING ENOUGH CASH for party favours / meals / vending items and stash it somewhere NOT obvious / lock it in your vehicle. There are a couple cash machines at Shambs but unfortunately the line-ups can be RIDICULOUS and the fees... eff. Just bring some damn money. More than you think. (Sorry bout it).

 

OH YEAH - Bring an awesome thing to BUST out to your crew when they least expect it, or something rad for your camp to enjoy. I know one couple that always bring their dope hooka, and someone else who was thinking of freezing hankerchiefs into cubes to pass out on a hot afternoon. I’ve seen someone melt dark chocolate onto strawberries, someone else bust out fresh mint and lime for mojitos!!! Even a secret bottle of whiskey tucked away for those impromptu shots that just hit the spot… ohhhh yeahhhh. The Glenlivet, I'm telling you. I'll be your friend. 

 

captainhookermutiny.jpg

 

Captain Hooker's whiskey-lovin' mug on the Mainstage of Bass Coast 2014. Photo: AllieKat Photography

13) A VERY simple list of the basic DO'S AND DON'T OF BEING FUCKED UP.


I want to thank Stacy Forrester, the fucking nurse of radness, for confirming and contributing to all of this. Most of this is all common sense shit, but you know, people lose their heads a bit at festivals & forget, and I find sometimes it's good to just say this shit to yourself again. So if I'm saying something that seems obvious, don't be offended, ok? Cuz it wasn't all necessarily obvious to me when I started out, as you will read ;) Ok. Here goes:


DO avoid unpleasantness by PLANNING AHEAD and BRINGING ENOUGH. By “unpleasantness” I mean ingesting sketchy or toxic additives, having a bad trip, running out (noooooooo!!!) or even worse, that grumpy “are you high? I'm not high. Are you high?” conversation. By “enough”, I again mean more than you think you need. 


Rule #8 applies here... by far the safest and best way to party is to show up with enough shit for the WHOLE TIME that you know is clean and legit. Remember: you don't have to do it all, but having extra is always better than running out. If you are new to this whole scene, find a spirit guide or friend you trust to hook you up with someone they trust, and get favours from them BEFORE you come (and hide that shit, obviously, well, because its illegal). But I'm telling you that will save you so, so SO much hassle. Also, small tip, try, if you can, not to call your source the day before the rave as they mayyyyy be a little busy. :) Just sayin.


- If you do run out and end up acquiring there,  DO always avoid anything in a pressed pill, even if they have cute little stamps (yayyy unicorns!! NOPE) or anything sold as "E”, for the love of sass. Wrong letter. Gelcaps or pressed pills could be E, but they could also be 2CB, 2TB, foxy, oxy, PCP or a billion other things that could fuck with your head. Ajax and caffeine = not fun times. Shit happens, I've seen it. Know your source, consult your guide, aka someone who knows what stuff should look, smell like or taste like. Fact: electronic music festival full of ravers who have run out of party favours is prime exploitation territory for the more shadowy peeps of our world, and shadows are out there. Protect yourself. Also protect the money in your little neon pocket. 

 

Also, but IF you do end up acquiring at Shambhala or another larger festival, DO use the drug-testing booth that won't point any Fingers of Judgement at you or confiscate anything. GO if you want to have something tested for its composition. These people really, really know their shit and its soooo worth it to know you're going to have a clean, danger-free high. Clean highs are happy highs. :) You can also pick up a drug testing kit online, although I haven't personally used one, so I can't say whether it's the move. Doesn't seem like it could hurt tho. 


DON'T get so wasted your friends have to take care of you. As the adorable Calvin and Hobbes cartoon says, YOU take care of YOU for me, I'LL take care of ME for you. :) 


- If you're gonna get that wasted, DO make sure you're with friends who actually will take you to the Sanctuary / Harm Reduction area where trained humans can look after you while they continue to party. PS: don't be mad at them for doing that. It's really the best move. They wait all year for this shit. Let them have fun while you simmer UMMMKAYYYY


DO double check what the substance is when offered. That might seem obvious, but I don't want to talk about how many times close friends have assumed what they were about to swallow or snort was something completely different than what it actually was. BAD RACCOON. Remember that MDMA, MDA, ketamine, cocaine, meth/speed & even heroin (it's out there) are ALL powders. Better to know than to end up accidentally doing a huge rail of ketamine thinking it was blow (a common mistake) or worse, ending up on super knarly PCP. It's happened. To me. Seriously. Not the funnest. ASK. 


- DO ask about ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY ALL LIQUIDS THAT ARE OFFERED TO YOU. Cocktails, ciders, even something that appears to be water. ASK. People COMMONLY put MDMA or liquid acid in their drinks. Never hurts to just quickly ask “what in it?” or say, "this is just water yeah?" or whatever. Seriously, that one little sentence can save your ass and you won't offend anyone. I remember one year when a Sweet Soul dancer who will go unnamed (*cough rhymes with MARA) ended up getting unknowingly dosed on 2CB that was in a big 4 L jug of what looked like water being passed around. When I found her she announced that she was in a vortex. 100% completely true story. It wasn't ideal. ASK. (she was completely ok in the end but she did give me a bit of a scare, not goin' lie). 

DON'T mix booze & GHB. Seriously. (Seriously). Seriously tho, don't do it, not worth it, I've personally witnessed people OD in front of me on GHB who "mix them all the time". Don't risk put yourself or your friends through that, please just .. don't. 

DO label and if possible, dye your GHB and don't leave it lying around for eff's sake. We all have that friend who accidentally had a big chug and missed the whole party. Just take 2 seconds to scrawl "g" on your bottle so that person doesn't hate you. Thanks. 

-DO pre-measure your doses of GHB. (Notice that GHB is on here a lot? Yah that's cuz by far the most of all emergencies at festivals involve GHB. Again, be careful as fuck with that shit.) Just a hypothesis here, but studies suggest that even a licensed lab scientist can't measure accurately at 3am whilst hunched on the uneven ground of the forest and using a glow stick as light source while wearing a Gumby suit. Pre-measure if you can, and know the concentration. FYI if you are unequipped, you can almost always get dye AND measuring shit for GHB from the Sanctuary area (every decent outdoor festival will have one of those)...NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Go get kitted up proper and prevent un-fun, low-sass situations. It's sooo worth it. 

Here's a vid of me using liquid "water enhancer" from the grocery store to dye / flavour my special liquid. It cost me all of $3 and as you can see LITERALLY took 10 seconds. 

DO be very careful if you choose to mix booze and ketamine (they both slow your heart rate down & booze will seriously increase the effect of ketamine). 

- If ketamine is your substance of choice, DO know that it can cause major stomach acid, and holding acidic pee in your bladder is no bueno. “K-bladder” is a thing, one that does not just happen to chronic users or veteran partiers, it happens in young new peeps too. So if you're riding the K-train, avoid super acidic drinks like cranberry juice. Try to injest alkaline foods like bananas and almond milk smoothies and shit. And again, ALWAYS remember to P on K!! P on K. P on K. 

- If you are on any sort of prescription for something, DO your research for interactions with recreational shniz. And while you don't have to tell your entire crew that you're on meds, DO tell AT LEAST one person you trust about it in case of emergency. Remember those medic bracelets people used to have? Yah. Cuz that's why.

DO find the first aid / Sanctuary tent if you need to. NO SHAME IN THAT. Ever. The Sanctuary staff is also super good at being discreet. So don't think you're going to be spoken about or judged.... Fingers of Judgement are NOT allowed in there. We've all gotten way too fucked up at some point or another. They are volunteering to help because they love you. It's ok. 

- Here's an IMPORTANT one that doesn't get said enough these days around hooking up: If the person's SUPER fucked up & you can tell that they're maybe not thinking clearly, DO hold off until they are more lucid and in a better position to get into positions. Ya know?? It's respect. Really hoping to get to a place where all sex at these festivals - and on planet earth in general - is completely consensual. Blurry lines = not kablammo. 

DO drink water, aka Raveforce, ALL DAY LONG, no matter what you're doing. ALL FUCKING DAY LONG. 

DO drink a coconut water, Emergen-C or gatorade every day to replace electrolytes and give your immune system a boost. 

DON'T forget to eat. Doesn't have to be a lot but it NEEDS TO BE SOMETHING, otherwise you WILL fade, no matter what. I normally can't eat a lot when I'm partying but I do try to have one good, hot meal a day and then snack the rest of the time. RULE IS HALF THE AMOUNT of food yo think you need, twice the amount of booze and smokes. Protein, carbs, good fat & some green shit. BAM. Done. Some suggestions: Tuna snacks on crackers, a hearty bagel w cream cheese or avocado, pre-cut veggies and bean dip (I do this bean-fries thing... throw a pack of ready-to-eat yellow beans in the cooler til they get super crunchy and then eat them like fries), or a wrap from the food vendor area... all simple. One of my friends swears by tofu weiners, just cold, when she's really dying for protein and couldn't be bothered to fix something up. For beach snacking, bring berries or bust out a melon or pineapple to cut up for a quick hydrating snack to share. Rice chips or nuts are rad beach snacks as well. ALSO: Chia seeds are my secret rave fuel. Seriously, those little fuckers are made of unicorn meat. Fuck. I'm such a hippie now. 


- If you DO feel yucky, or dizzy, or super sketchy the next day, or whatever, do my tried and true tested routine: find your camp, change into comfy clothes, and brush your teeth. IT WORKS. For real. 

goodenough.jpg

With Foxy Moron's cheeky twist on Mat The Alien's motto and fan signs, 2010 

DO PREPARE FOR POST-PARTY DEPRESSION. This is actually a very real thing. Pick up some 5HTP at the Vitaman / Health food store and eat that shit the morning after MDMA... it has ingredients will help your brain come back to life a little .... but still, be prepared. This is based on an ACTUAL letter I sent to the now-Yolk's owner and once rave-king Steve Ronin and to myself upon our return to the city after Shambs 2009 .... because even though I do this year after year, I STILL sometimes forget why I'm just so GRUMPY and MOODY the next week. Do yourself a favour... print out this letter, fill in the date and blank with your name, and send it to yourself in the mail the day before you leave for your festival or stick it to your fridge with the heading ** FOR NEXT WEEK ***

****************************************


Date: __________ 


Dear __(YOUR NAME)___________________, 


Just a friendly reminder from your fabulous, sexy, clever & clearly VERY modest friend Crystal Precious that any awful, sickening feelings of horrible depression you may currently be experiencing are simply the after-effects of doing hugely unreasonable amounts of drugs this weekend. That's right, it's not you... it's Suicide Wednesday. 
Ah yes, those feelings of hopelessness and physical weakness typical of extreme serotonin shortage can often seem all too real... so please, remember that beneath the cold sweats, shakes & twitches that a fabulous, kind, considerate and un-nauseous person waits to emerge with renewed perspective & strength. Make sure to resist any urges to hate yourself for the terrible abuse to which you have subjected your body. It was like, totally worth it. And no matter what, have some mini-donuts or otherwise sweet/greasy food-item on hand at ALL TIMES. 
Should this reminder be premature or even (skeptical brow furrow) UNNEEDED, kindly disregard or forward for future use. Or perhaps just send back to me. I’ll probably need it. 


xoxo
CP
**********************************


On that tip, DO avoid making any serious decisions or fighting with your spouse / boss / roommate upon return. If anyone says “We need to talk”, just straight-up fucking run. Once you are far, FAR away, re-schedule the talk for another week when your brain has regenerated some happy juice.  And for whatever reason if your stomach or bladder is acting up after the festival, go to the EFFIN doctor and for the love of EFF. If they seem unconcerned, don't be afraid to tell them what drugs you were doing and how much. Judging you is totally counter productive for them, like what if you just stopped going to doctors? They don't want that, assuming they got into the medical profession to you know, like, help people and shit. You're important and special. So go and tell the truth so you can make sure you're ok. FOR ME. :) 

 

basscoaststage.jpg

Rock Pit / Ampitheatre performance with Sweet Soul Burlesque in 2011

Ok!  RAVE GRASSHOPPAS.... I think that just about covers what I have to contribute. Long live the internet for being such an effective way to share knowledge to other human beings !! Woohoo!  Please feel free to send this to anyone and everyone and ask them to do the same. And for eff’s sake, come watch me perform at Bass Coast X with Sweet Soul Burlesque 8:30 PM at Radio Stage and hosting MAIN STAGE with a solo performance at 9:40 PM -- BOTH on SATURDAY NIGHT!!! 

Lashes n' lix n' glowy bright stix..and all my love, for real, 
Xxo CP 

    Progress: Requires honesty, apparently.

    You know what path you're on. You feel hopeful that you can send some good ripples out into the world. You are immeasurably grateful. You can't wait to get out there, and for what you'll get to experience. And for whom you'll get to meet along the way.


    You’re excited. You enjoy the sights, sounds. You make stops. You bask in the adventure. You’re always eager to get to your next milestone.


    The longer you’re on the road, the more eager you become. After awhile, the eagerness starts to become anxiety.


    Sometimes you’re not sure how long it will take to make it to the next gas station… so you drive even faster.


    You start to miss things.


    Sometimes the wheels are spinning so fast that you can’t figure out if you’re even on the right path.  


    There are other people on the road, people who come in and out of tandem with you. Some have been road buddies for a long, long time. Inevitably, you feel them start to drive off into other directions. You consider trying make them passengers, because you want them close. At some point you’re reminded that everyone needs to have their own car… including you.


    Sometimes... sometimes you run something over by accident.


    When that happens it scares you.


    You STOP.  You get out. You see tiny leaks. You see little patches where rust is slowly setting in. You see the residue from the muddy roads
    fucking up your sassy shine. And even though that at this stage losing time has always felt like the last possible resort, you stop. You have to stop for a minute.


    You enjoy the rest. You see how many things were slowing you down. You give extra love to all the areas that needed love. You know it was the right decision. And finally, when your belts are whirring happily again and your antifreeze is topped up, you notice something.


    In the distance, a FUCKING FREEWAY has been built in your direction.





    Rrrrrright.  

    Time to get on that, then.

    :)



    xo
    CP




    Notorious Vancouver Interview & New Track

    Heyyyyyy!!! SO I'm in the midst of cray cray costume show preppin' (tonight at Keefer is gonna be a hawwwwwt one!) and I really wanted to share this interview my bestie

    Tristan Risk

    did with me for her Notorious Vancouver blog back in April, before the release of

    "Queen of Sass"

    . She is killin' it, filming the feature 

    Save Yourself

    in Toronto at the moment and I miss her lots. :)  

     Debuting a brand new hip hop track AND I'mma do the OG gypsy version tonight of "Burlesq" as released by

    Michael Fraser

    earlier this year on his Gypsitech EP, for which I guest-vocal'd. 

    Here is the

    Neighbour

    remix of the track to listen while readinnnnng: 

    Huge kisses!! And I have a special surprise early blog for ya next week... vid-styles. :D

    xoxoxo

    Notorious Vancouver: Crystal Precious

    Posted 

    on 

    April 29, 2014

    at 7:56 am

    by

    Little Miss Risk

    It’s been awhile since I posted a Notorious Vancouver interview here. Not because I’m protecting the underground from getting splashed by the mainstream, but more because of a backlog of awesome things occurring and distracting me from bringing the readers of this blog the grease on some of the cool, forward thinking iconoclasts in my beloved home city. So this interview features a dear friend of mine, my gateway drug into the electronic west coast music scene, who literally talked me out of the car and lured me to a outdoor rainforest rave with a bottle of whiskey (true story) and is one talented lady. She is Crystal Precious, strip-hop artists, burlesque icon, 3rd wave feministisa, and sass injector. She is a founding member of our burlesque troupe, Sweet Soul Burlesque, and the weekly femme-cee at the Keefer bar’s Sweet Sip Thursday. With the world waiting for her full length album release since her music for her single ‘Apple Pie’ hit last year, I wanted to give the world some insight into this chimera of a woman…

    Queen Of Sass, Read for Bass Coast 2014

    Queen Of Sass, Read for Bass Coast 2014

    1.

     You’re originally from Winnipeg. What do you think influenced you as an artist growing up there?

    Well, that’s actually only half-true. Winnipeg I consider my home town, because that’s where my family moved when I was ten. Kinda right as I fell into consciousness, you know? Right before puberty. So that’s where I consider my main upbringing. But ORIGINALLY I’m a BC girl. My two sisters and I were both born in Smithers. My mom was a morning radio personality and drama schoolteacher, and my dad was an environmentalist. That place and time of my life all seems extremely dream-like now, but I think being a little kid heavily immersed in nature – fishing in the Bulkley, hiking Hudson bay, had just as much influence on me as the extremely non-outdoor-sy culture of Winnipeg. My number one influence is everything magic, and nature is magic in its purest form right? Straight-up. So that was my start.

    I think I get my warmth from Winnipeg, cuz you learn to get warm there in all kinds of ways. Winnipeggers are such gracious hosts, and kind, open people I think. Made for the best house parties I’ve ever witnessed or experienced since; those old radiator-heated mahogany moulding houses and tiny wooden hallways held lots of good-times vibes I think. Looking in either direction down the tunnels of giant elm trees in a back lane kind of reminded me of that scene in the Labyrinth, you know, at the beginning where she sees the same thing infinitely left and right, and the little worm tells her to look more closely. Then she finds she’s actually standing right in front of an opening. Winnipeg was really like that. You had to hunt, look closely and really learn to look at things differently to find all the juicy scenes there. Keep your ear glued to the ground, your eyes open for clues. Also I think I was just really trained to be more open to the beauty in a city manages to keep a thriving art scene in a challenging economical climate, and, um, just a challenging climate, and not much really, to work with. I really grew up respecting and appreciate the less “refined” places where art still lives, and where it really needs to live, I think. The warehouses. The roller-rinks. The pool halls. The community centres (like for Festival de Voyageur, or the West End, for example). Even the mall, for eff’s sake — that’s where Prairie Theatre Exchange was, in Portage Place, where I was in the Young Company for several years. All of that had a profound effect on me, I think, as far as community building and promoting. And it had a lot to do my path as a low-brow artist with high-brow ideas. 

    :)

    2. You’ve worked very hard along with a number of other souls to help promote the Bass Coast Music Festival. What are some of your observations on the growth of the West Coast underground/electronica/burlesque scene and the elements that tie them together?

    Well to me Bass Coast is a crucial because to me it represents a platform and a space for the more subversive corners of West Coast electronic / conscious arts communities to keep growing. If you go back a bit, I think we’ve all been in tandem for awhile (in terms of the burlesque revival and the electronic music community) in the sense that we were kind of a newer generation of our respective movements. We were discovering and coming up with all these modern takes on them. Like when I first met Max [Ulis] and some of the other

    Lighta!

    crew peepz in 2006, they were kinda doing what we had been doing — shows in basements and community centres or warehouses, basically anywhere that would let us do our thing, cuz you know, at the time, dubstep (or what used to be called dubstep) was VERY fresh and kinda weird. A lot of time, both our kinds of events were still generally scrutinized by the folks over at C of V. “Rave” was still a really bad word after all the city crack downs, and “burlesque” was still heavily stigmatized and misunderstood. Nightclubs were certainly still way out of the question at that point, as far as getting in to have decent nights or spots, and honestly the crowds the nightclubs attracted at the time weren’t really a good fit anyway. What we really needed were more spaces where we could do our thing and at the same time foster good, safe vibes around the shows.

    When we [Sweet Soul] built Dollhouse, basically out of a retail storage warehouse, we largely based the business model off of

    Open Studios

    , where

    New Forms

     was starting to throw all the crazy dubforms parties and introducing all these new kinds of bass music. So we were still kind of mirroring each other as far as creating spaces where we could attract like-minded people and do our new weirdo thing; with us that meant doing neo-burlesque cabarets and over-the-top costume parties. Sweet Soul always had DJS at our late night events and crossed over a bit that way, so it wasn’t long before deeper pockets of the electronic scene started appearing at our door and asking to do events. We were super open to, so long as long as it jived with our wild burlesque grrl vibes and we were into the music, which we were. So suddenly all these crews start coming up and connecting with each other through the spaces, like

    SHAHdjs

    and Perception, and Moo Crew and 

    the Joyscouts and the GhettoFunk guys, and Integrated Grime Unit, and LWSD, and the HomeBreakin’ dudes when some of them starting moving here from Calgary.

    Me sittin' pon

    Michael Red

    's old system at Dollhouse, circa 2009. Mural painted by

    Phresha

    At some point all our shit had started to catch on, and we grew into ourselves... like, fast forward a bit and the Lighta guys were hosting headliners like Skream at Richards on Richards, the Burlesque Fest was about to move to the Vogue, and meanwhile, huge electronic festivals like Shambhala were starting to sell out for the first time ever. By the time Dollhouse finally got shut down in 2010 the community had grown so much and the cross-over was so fluid that everyone needed a new direction, I think. That was the year that I first approached Andrea and Liz (and Andrea H at the time) about promoting for BassCoast. We had done a few events together at that point, and Sweet Soul had also performed at their first installment. I was pretty confident in my observation that what they were doing was essentially giving our community (along with other branches of the coast) a new space to evolve, strengthen and reach out. Didn’t hurt either that they are badass chicks with really similar politics and ethics around lots of shit I’m pretty particular about. I strongly intuited that their platform was the best place to direct any promotional pull I might still have had that came out of the Dollhouse community at that time. So that’s what I did. 

    :)

     And I’m still doing it.

    Bass Coast

    just aligns with everything Sweet Soul is about: the neo-shit, the future-vibes, edgier, more subversive corners while still paying homage to the root of our respective art forms. And the burlesque vibe of smart, sassy, artistic, powerful, sexually-liberated women is everywhere. There’s a reason they call it Babecoast. I mean, their logo is a hot babe riding a unicorn with a chainsaw!!! PUHLAYYYSE. And the biggest thing is that it FEELS SAFE for us to be who we are; to just enjoy ourselves in all our crazy glory and to be accepted, not judged or harassed or shamed or antagonized. The opposite, even. Last year, for example, seeing the dance-hall booty-liberation workshop to Tank Grrl & Mandai Djing was one of my favourite moments ever. Like, OF LIFE, though.

    :)

    3. Performing as a burlesque and strip hop artist, you’ve experienced criticism from other women about being ‘degraded’ and ‘exploited’ in your choices of art forms. How do you deal with these attacks, and what is your advice to other female artists who experience this?

    I think the first thing I do is remember to admit that the skepticism is totally understandable and that usually its just misplaced. Pop-culture is rife with totally annoying exploitative and degrading sexual imagery, especially in the music industry, so it’s not really the biggest surprise ever that I get some eye-rolls when I jump onstage and start taking my clothes off. Like, haven’t we had enough naked women in hiphop? I get it. And then we have the industry insulting us even more by throwing around buzzwords like “empowerment” by featuring female hip-hop singers being “sexy” in a way that either seems super contrived, or consistent with irritating, transparently capitalist agendas. And lot of times they are still clearly deliberately conforming to supernatural beauty ideals and behaviour that is obviously contingent to male-validation. Yeah. You know what? I get it. That shit pisses me off too.

     I actually feel like the work I’m doing is coming at it from the completely opposite direction, so that kind of misplaced anger doesn’t bother me. Once people actually see me or my troupe do our thing, they usually get it.

    Also, I try to remember that not everyone is as sexually-charged as I am. 

    Stripping and sex for me is not a put-on. It’s just me. My intensely sexual nature is an immense source of creative power for me, and its not something I even try to hide, or cover up. I just can’t even. I mean, the first time I took my top off, I was literally, like, YUP!! It makes sense why women who are perhaps less into sex would be wary of my choice to do burlesque striptease as part of my work, especially when so many women in the entertainment industry are unnecessarily painted in sex and then glorified to sell products

    . I think a LOT of women probably feel "pushed" to be more sexual than they actually are because of that.

     So I get that too.

     They just have to remember that everyone is different. Some of us are super sexual, some of us are less so. Both are totally equally fine, and just because they wouldn’t do what I’m doing doesn’t mean it’s not genuine or self-directed. As such, it’s not at all degrading for me. It’s really liberating because its a big part of who I am, and a big part of what my gut tells me I'm here for [spiritually speaking].

    Another thing I try to explain, in that same vein, is that the sexual aspect of my work isn’t about TRYING to appeal to men, or to anyone, really. 

    I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy feeling attractive to men in certain contexts, especially those I’m also attracted to, obviously. I do. I’m at least 67 percent hetero I’d say, give or take depending on the moment. :) But putting on an act to TRY to appeal to “men” in general — which, c’maan, how can we generalize like that? Let’s give men some more credit please — or to anyone really, is not my main motivation in life or in my work.

    Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, I’m not trying to sell you, or anyone, on what I’m doing or saying. When I’m promoting a piece of work, I see it as trying to get it out there to as many people as possible so that it 

    can reach the ones it can be of assistance to. Same as when I promote an event, or a show. I’m not trying to sell people on what I’m doing or tell them they should like me or agree with me. If it resonates with you on some level, awesome.

    Here’s my record! Have it.

    (And my choice is to offer it for whatever you can pay, or for free even). If not? No problem — I respect you; to each their own, move along. But I’m coming from a genuine place. I’m not “using” my sexuality to sell you something. I don’t NEED to sell you anything. There are no giant corporations using me to make money. I’m not angling for supreme super stardom, or millions of dollars. I mean, I’m still gonna be open to pretty much anything that comes my way, because I trust that there’s a reason behind it. But by the same token, I’m currently happy as fuck. I love doing my shows, traveling, having a great time with my friends, singing on the beach or in the forest and just creating awesome shit. That’s more than enough for me. So take it — or leave it, if you like. All love. 

    :)

    4. What is your favourite places to make out in Vancouver?

    Hmmm.. I’d have to say the sea wall at twilight, or late night, facing the city. Like Granville island side, near False Creek. The little boardwalks and shadowy trees have all kinds of secret pockets. When the city is all lit up golden glass and you can hear the waves cuz you’re kissing… hot. Sometimes there are pianos there, like randomly people roll out grand-high pianos and play right at shoreside. I’m about as into romance as I am into sex, and that’s a lot. SO yeah. 

    :)

    5. How did you meet your producer, Self Evident, and start 

    collaborating with him to birth awesome song-babies?

    Through Dollhouse of course! I actually met his older siblings first, Chloe back when I was a year-fresh burlesque grrl and then Max when he started throwing parties at the space. I’d known Ben for awhile before we started collaborating and always loved what he was doing, sound-wise. Had such a sensibility and a style, pushing ever so slightly into the more challenging stuff while still keeping everyone in. We just got each other, I think, on a personal level, as well. Around 2010 I think, he had sent my roommate at the time,

    Shamik

    , a bunch of instrumentals. At that point I was really just dabbling in rapping and singing again.. I hadn’t done much of it since leaving Winnipeg [where I had a band]. But I was starting to be open more and more to the idea of incorporating it into my burlesque acts, largely due to encouragement from the grrlz. Shamik had heard a few of the things I had been foolin’ around with and was also super encouraging, which I’m eternally grateful for. Considering that he had some pretty serious music chops, I was like, oh hey. Maybe this could work. He was like, “here, check out some of these tracks” and what would later turn into Apple Pie was one of them. When I rapped it to Ben for the first time, he was like, “Uhhhh.. wha??!!” Then he uncovered all these pop tunes he’d been secretly writing and storing up. The rest just flowed pretty seamlessly. Can’t express how grateful I am for him.. this record was his first time mixing and mastering with vocal tracks as well. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, considering it’s my first record ever and his first pop-music production project.

    6. What are some things to watch out for from Crystal Precious in the coming year?

    Welllllll we’re going to launch our KickStarter in the fall to fundraise for our next video with Apple Pie director Stuart MacKay Smith, which is AWESOME & super exciting. I love working with Stuart, he’s like my other creative soulmate. Doing the Apple Pie vid was literally one of the best days of my life, and there’s just a thick magic around my relationship with him. I’ll never forget the day we discovered that he actually got to meet of my greatest burlesque inspirations, Tura Santana. He just gets us, and what I’m all about. Plus he’s just the raddest, coolest, most talented dude EVERRR. I adore him. The next video is going to be shot outside, with more of the different Vancouver troupes and a grittier aesthetic. We’re taking a lot of inspiration from the 1979 film “The Warriors”. It’s gonna be hilariously bad-ass.

    I’ve also a single with three remixes slotted for release along with that video; am also deep into a bunch of new tracks with Ben that I’ll be performing at The Keefer Bar on Thursdays all summer with Sweet Soul. The grrlz & I are putting a ton of love into our Bass Coast show and our touring show, which I’m really pumped about getting on the road for some longer stints, most likely starting January of next year. Would also love to plant seeds for video collabs with some other folks I admire as well (*cough *cough Soska Twins) and I’m hoping that now we have a more solid frame of work to build from we can find someone to help us get into the grant game. So you know. One or two things. Aside from that? I need beach days, and family, and lovers, and swimming, and dancing, and playing dress-up just for the hell of it. Maybe with a raccoon. Know any? 

    :)

    ***

    (our nickname for Tris is based on her spirit animal - the raccoon!)

    huge love everybody!! see you in the next week's vid! xoxo CP

    Vlog - Self-Sass Injections

    YUPPPPP... After almost 10 years of posts in the written word on my blog, I'm breakin' out into the DIY vid blog world!!! The editing is kinda brutes at the mo, but I know I'll get better at it. Gotta go through that time before you get good at something, right? Yah. Important thing is to get started. :) These are my actual practices, particularly the psychological ones... still keep these all in effect on a daily.

    Benzonite Clay 

    - Ummmmm, its actually Bentonite. Rrrrrright. Whupps. :) Anyway here are the deets.

    Chia Seeds are MADE OF UNICORN MEAT

     Learn it.

    Kimmy Karolyn

     is my awesome in-home hairstylist, PM her if ya live in Vancouver and enjoy quality

    COME SEE ME TONIGHT and every Thursday if you're around, I'm performing and hosting at

    The Keefer Bar

    , as always!!!

    All show detes & times are here: 

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-Sip-Thursdays-Sweet-Soul-Burlesque-at-The-Keefer/103755619694195

    Here's the info for the BASSCOAST, the AMAZING festival l I keep talking about:

    https://www.basscoast.ca 

    I literally cannot wait. We've been working our ASSES off at Sweet Soul for our giant show on Saturday night at 10pm... wooooooooooot!!! 

    huge love errrrbody. kisses n' kix, 

    xoxo

    CP

    Saturn, Tron & Resolutions

    K so first thing's first: Tron.

    My official stance is as follows: yes, the eye candy IS worth all the sentimental bullshit plot torture you have to endure to get to the cool parts. Cuz the cool action special effects parts are PRETTTTY fucking cool, and you know I've been living at a rave for the past 80 years so I'm not easily amused by just ANY lazer and glow-stripe combo (ps: what's up with holiday blockbusters trying to look like raves? RRRRRRRiiiiight).

    Anyway. EVERYONE knows that a) Jeff Bridges is KING (seriously, although to be fair, pretty much the best parts of him in this movie are when he channels The Dude) and b) robot/iso chicks are HAWT, especially if they look like Lola Frost and are almost as physically apt (almost). Observe:

    Cory of Tron - (HAWTTT)

    Lola Frost of Sweet Soul Burlesque (HAWTTT):

    APPROVE.

    Having said all that the cool action parts are still a little too few and far between for my liking, so make sure to only take a MILD hallucinogenic as opposed to a strong one because otherwise the romantic plot crap will KILL YOU. It's wayyyyy too slow and you'll hurt your brain trying to follow it (it's shoddy and to be honest, altogether unnecessary).

    My advice would be to take like, a quarter of a hit of mild acid and to bring someone to make out with during the slow parts... so it would be like: watch fun trippy movie, wow video-game robot bikes are rad and awesome, oh fuck crappy plot moment... k make-out-make-out-handjob-whatever-make-out. Oh look! The movie's at fun part again. Repeat. Yeah I think that'd pretty much be the ideal way to do Tron. Might do that again this week actually if I can dig up the right partner in crime. ;)

    In the meantime I got to lay out a bunch at some friends' LOVELY family home and gratefully chill out a bit, as well as eat, get stoned, watch copious Entourage reruns and embellish various costume bits. Been reflecting on the whole

    Saturn Returns

    thing that's been pretty much steering my life for the past year and a half and thinking it's been so NEEDED. Like for real. Even though it began with horrible horrible mind and faith-shattering betrayal (always fun) as well as personal AND professional upheaval (also super fun)... I must admit that things REALLY HAVE eventually worked out for the best. My life is very different than it was then, in a very very good way. Imagine that, those damn planets and stars were RIGHT. AGAIN. Sheesh. It's almost like this PATTERN or something. Heh heh.

    Don't think I'm quite out of the woods yet though... still tying up loose ends and de-clogging. After Dollhouse I did an initial shit sweep but I'm scraping the next layer now... for the next three days it's all about admitting that the things I don't touch are the things I don't use and hence, the things I don't need. I want to get RID of them. BYE BYE. Massive purge-a-thon. DVDS. CDs. Crafty bits that are SO DEAD and wayy behind me. Fucking clothes I've been pretending to wear but don't ever. Books I haven't read in a decade. Accessories that have been accessorizing the space in my jewelry boxes more than my tits. BORING. Want some? Hit me up. I'm done. Make way for the newness. Newness likes space dammit.

    Speakin' of newness I've also been thinkin' on some 2011 resolutions. Oh yeah, GUESS WHAT: I'm SOOOO not the kinda bitch that worries about what I'm NOT gonna do. FUCK THAT SHIT. Instead, here's some shit I AM gonna do. It's my....

    Crystal Precious' 2011 New Year's Resolutions TOP TEN LIST!!!!

    By Crystal Precious.

    1. Release a record. Not sure if it's gonna be the Striphop EP or full-length album, prolly EP. Depends on how many tracks I can get to the point of feeling really fucking great about. Either way it's going in your earholes by summer, so help me god.

    2. Learn to sew. At least to the point where I can do my own reconstruction and alterations. Honestly how hard can this fucking shit be? I'm not retarded right? I mean, when I THINK of the hilarious steez level this could take me to, I can almost forget about all of my previous sewing machine failures (some of which admittedly made my friends laugh like nitrus'd hyenas). Apparently though there is this cute place in Vancouver called

    Spool of Thread

    that gives lessons and they don't know about any of my prior disaster projects. It could be a whole new clean slate!!! I'm doing it. What's the worst that could happen? My stitches fall out and my clothes fall off... oh BOO-FUCKING-HOO. Like that's never happened before.

    3. Focus on quality social encounters instead of quantity. I LOVE MY FRIENDS. So why are we screaming at each other over stacks 20 inch subs every time we see each other instead of every OTHER time? Honestly. Conversation and creation. More. Together. Now. With cheese.

    4. Do a 30-Day Yoga Challenge. I've never done one before and it looks hard. Hey, I like things that are hard.

    5. Get tattooed for my 30th birthday this April (I'm an Aries bitch). Wings & feathers and colour and sass. For REAL. Milestones have been reached, decisions have been made. I'm a showgrrl for life. Time to make it permanent and known. Shwa: get yer gun out.

    6. Go to

    Burning Man

    . I will have my ticket by the end of January or February and I will put it on my fridge so I see it every time I hit the dairy thingy. I'm not sure who I'm going with or where I'm staying, but I'm feeling like it will be a primarily solo mission once I'm there. And I'm going. I'm READY. Rites of Passage INDEED, uh... only the story of my fucking life for the past two years. Whenever I close my eyes it's like this little picture book I've seen before and there's this little character of me running through the playa in a frog outfit. Jumping up and down occasionally. Very cute. Must make real. Ribbit!

    7. Continue to remove or limit interaction with all people, projects and things that are not serving my greater purpose of RAISING OVERALL WORLD SASS LEVELS. This is a very important mission I feel. No one must distract me with anything sass-sucking. And to be clear, this doesn't mean removing people that challenge me, just people who disrespect me. Guess what? NO PIE FOR YOU.

    8. SING MORE. Every day. Every single, living breathing day. Singing. Let's go.

    9. Love deeply, truly, fiercely, passionately. DEEPLY DAMMIT. Just LOVE and just let all my lovely little loves be what they are, and to love them for that and feel grateful for them. Yeah yeah, I'm a fucking hippie. We've been over this. Not to get all Whitney but uhh.... gonna give myself a lotta love this year. And every year after that. Forever. And ever. Cuz when it comes right down to it, everything else is gravy. Really, really hot, tasty gravy perhaps... but gravy all the same. (Mmmm. Gravy.)

    10. Finish my goddamn Summer of Sass blog, for FUCK'S SAKE. Two biggest installs are coming up: Shambles and Acapulco... actually I'm pretty stoked I've left them for gray weather when I lavish in dreams of sun cause they'll gimme a good hit of those this month. The new CP cruiser (aka Britney) hasn't gone out nearly enough this month. Although I have to say rollin' around in a sweater and chucks for X-mas sure didn't piss me off. Sorry Wpg, the West Coast kiiiinda has you beat there... even if we don't have M&M Meat Shops. Missed that shit this year, natch, not gonna lie ;)

    And so... those are my 2011 resolutions. With that and a hot hair flip flourish I say, "Peace out 2010!!! It's been real." And it has. But I'm not sad about the changes cuz I made 'em, I wanted 'em, whether the means was tough or not. The journey is the meat of it ain't it? Just like when we were kids, gotta eat your spinach to get to dessert... and then you realize that spinach is actually kinda tasty. If you put pepper on it.

    Our show at the Keefer on Thursday (click

    here

    for detes) is gonna be KILLER, hopefully Tristan doesn't come as close to burning the place down this week as last week (I'm so serious though, come down and I'll tell you the story)... and then NYE is going to be SO SO SO killer, I'm so stoked. I get to do sassy cabaret numbers at Chambar with Hebegebe and then walk a couple blocks down to

    W2 Lights NYE

    to rave hard with all the crews... yess!!!!! Awww yeah. My fave combo fo' shiz. Looking forward particularly to some of the grimier hiphop shit, been feeling that A LOT lately (SHOCKER, I know). Particularly looking forward to dancing HARD in LOTS of glitter to Max Ulis & Self Evident, Mr. Michael Red (whom I haven't seen play in FOREVER, so excited), Bevvy Swift and the Librarian.... making bass face and bending my knees already. I like it deep n' delicious. Like cake.

    K gotta get the sequins in a row. I'm gonna get rid of a whole truckload of shit, I've decided. Startiiiiiing NOW.

    2011: Warm me up baby. Let's get down. I'm open.

    big loves

    xoxo

    CP

    Vol·a·tile

    [

    vol

    -

    uh

    -tl

    ,

    -til

    or, especially Brit.

    ,

    -tahyl

    ]

    Show IPA

    adjective

    1.

    evaporating

    rapidly;

    passing

    off

    readily

    in

    the

    form

    of

    vapor:

    Acetone

    is

    a

    volatile

    solvent.

    2.

    tending

    or

    threatening

    to

    break

    out

    into

    open

    violence;

    explosive:

    a

    volatile

    political

    situation.

    3.

    changeable;

    mercurial;

    flighty:

    a

    volatile

    disposition

    .

    4.

    (of

    prices,

    values,

    etc.)

    tending

    to

    fluctuate

    sharply

    and

    regularly:

    volatile

    market

    conditions.

    5.

    fleeting;

    transient:

    volatile

    beauty.

    There it is. In all its glory. That's all that is me at the moment. I'm embracing it. It's just how it is.

    Interesting how it manifests as being problematic within my lifestyle. For example, please apply "volatile" as my main behavioral trait while reading over this pretty-much verbatim transcript of a conversation from my weekend. (NB: This is not completely atypical as something people tend to say to me):  

    Him: "Hey.. uh... you're that stripper girl or whoever, right? Do you remember me? I know so-and-so

    {old friend of mine who I actually quite like

    }." 

    Me: (laughing sort-of): "Oh yeah, uh.. hi. I'm Crystal."

    Him: "Yeah. I always had a little crush on you."

    Me: "I see."

    (literally 5 minutes later)

    Him (totally serious): "So uh... do you wanna go hang out somewhere maybe?"

    Me (laughing again): "You mean like, to have sex?

    (his face doesn't really change).

    Oh

    .

    Um, no. I'm good. Thanks anyway tho."

    Him: "Yeah. You're a stripper alright."

    Yup. 

    So normally I would take a step back and assess this situation before reacting to it. Like, at this point I'm usually just kind of amused, with a mild side of judgement that this dude is probably somewhere on the asshole scale, but knowing that WHERE, exactly, is pretty hard to gage from this one interaction.  My compassionate and caring side asks: is it really his fault that strippers are misrepresented everywhere for being hustlers and teases and whores who should really just put out after 5 minutes of conversation? Maybe dude just needs a little schooling, bless his misconstrued little heart. He's probably never even seen a really good strip show. Hell, he probably doesn't even have very many girlfriends with lace underpants. He doesn't know we're smart and complicated humans! I should blame the internet. Let's go post something on it. Yayyy Naomi Wolf is super. Etc. Etc. 

    And then, to be fair, I do have to consider my own

    occasional

    (albeit now definitely outgrown) forays into casual sex before I lay full judgement upon the man. If this was 2003 and the dude was SUPER hot, I might not have given a fuck. Let's be honest. There's a reason I kept condoms in my purse for years and years. 

    But... back to this particular interaction. He's

    not

    super hot, it's

    not

    2003, and I'm VOLATILE. So this  kind of hmm-haw social acceptance / one love narrative that's usually going on in my head

    is not happening today

    .

    Instead I am having a narrative that says, "PUNCH THIS FUCKER IN THE FACE".

    So yeah, you know. Kinda problematic.

    Another problem with being volatile:

    I cannot drink more that three alcoholic beverages in a row at the moment. It's really interesting. Right now if I have three, I'm good. If I have even just one more than that

    I'm off the edge like a fucking cartoon coyote. The heavenly numbness of Drink #4 is like rubbing baby angel wings on my crotch -- and I will chase that feeling til noon, you'd better believe it. Drink #4 is like sitting at the top of a waterslide with all the water rushing up against my back and then trying NOT to push off into the sooooooper sexy pools of blacking out... ohhhh yes. Those deep dark holes of not feeling a thing. I could swim there for weeks I tell you. I could build a hut there even. What's the name of that volleyball that became Tom Hanks' friend in Castaway? ...Yeah, NOT ALLOWED to go there.

    For at least another ten days. At least. Then a re-assess. We shall see. 

    Seeing as how

    I work at the greatest cocktail lounge ever as well as parties, almost exclusively

    , this is also problematic. Not impossible, but problematic.

    Very much hoping this passes by Bass Coast. Glenfiddich has plans for me; I lost a bottle before Diversity and have needed a rematch ever since. 

    I guess I feel lucky to be conscious enough to see all this go down in real time and not a step too late. The joys of experience and well, of getting older. I'm wise enough to know that black holes and broken noses just put the game on pause. You don't get to skip any levels. Still gotta do the work when you get back. Except now your fingers and thumbs are all confuse-y and your head hurts. And you don't want anyone's blood ruining you manicure. It's fucking glitter tips, ummkay. They're pretty.

    So yeah, that's how it all is at the moment. I expect this level of "volatile" won't last forever. I must say that I feel like I might be kind of killing it at the music thing right now though. Recording is like the best thing ever. All that raw makes for serving good voice it seems. And writing is still fun, apparently. ;)

    I get to play festival dressups in my house this week and that's like, my favorite thing to do EVER.

    Also Sunshine Coast - I get it. So it's not all bad. Plus you're reading this right now, and that's cool. So you know. 

    Thanks. 

    Me & Chelsey's dog, Boo, in Winnipeg at the beginning of the month. He's safe and sound at my mom's house. Not sure why I took this then, I think maybe to show her he's ok. You know? It's just... he's ok. I don't know. 

    It's something.

    xoxo

    CP

    In Loving Memory of Chelsey Lee Barbara Wilkes. 08/24/83 - 06/24/12


    It is with deep sadness and loving memory that we announce the sudden passing of Chelsey Lee Barbara Wilkes, daughter to Mary Ann & Brian; sister to Crystal and Heather, stepdaughter to Olivia. She crossed over on the afternoon of Sunday June 24 in Richmond, BC with her family by her side. She was exactly two months shy of her 29th birthday.

    Chelsey was a bright, vivacious, vibrant, beautiful woman with a huge personality and unparalleled wit. She was also very intuitive and perceptive. She had exceptional taste and was a talented stylist, make-up artist and craftswoman. She brought excitement, sass and laughter to everyone who knew her. Above all Chelsey was a strong warrior who was working very hard to overcome extremely difficult obstacles in her life. We can only hope and trust that she is now relieved of these struggles and that her powerful spirit will continue to touch our world with her signature sense of humour, magic and love.

    ***

    Sasspots.

    It feels super fucking weird to post this on my blog and on Facebook but you know what, it's the times we are in. To be truthful I'm grateful to not have to repeat this over and over. I just need people to know. It's actually a huge relief to have social media for this shit. This was a pretty big shock.

    I'm writing this because I always feel kind of awkward when someone close to my friend dies... I never know what the best thing would be to say or how to act or whatever. So I'm going to just be straight cuz that's what I would want if roles were reversed. Realness, let's hang out there - you know it's how I roll. Above all I would just love to know that my West Coast family is around and sending love. I would also love if you sent Chelsey some sassy energy for her journey and just wished her well. She was only 2 years younger than me and we were extremely, extremely close. This was very sudden and I am still dealing with the accepting that it is real. Writing and posting this, in fact, has been helpful in that regard.

    It has been a very difficult week, and a week of tough decisions. One thing I have decided in the past few days is that I strongly, strongly feel that I need to keep creating and performing through all of this. I need to be around all my family at Keefer, and the festivals, and to use my outlet for process and release. It's just who I am. Chelsey was extremely proud and supportive of me and I know she would want me to carry through on this momentum. In fact... I honestly think she may be deliberately helping me along in some ways. There are some really big signs of this and I want to honour them. So unless otherwise noted, I intend on following through with all my gigs and professional commitments this summer, including Diversity next weekend. I feel in my gut that this is the right thing to do. And if you are also a performer, you know the feeling I have that I will find solace on the stage like nowhere else.

    Having said that, I also intend on being 100% true to my grieving process at all times. So if you see me out, please don't take it personally if I'm a bit more withdrawn or non-engaging, or if I hang close to my close friends, or if you see me have waves of unexpected emotion. Please don't feel awkward if you see me and this happens, at parties, especially if you're drunk / partying or whatever, it's fine. More than ever I want people to enjoy life, please, for the love of sass. If you want to, just send me love vibes from where you're at, and don't worry about what to say or feeling like you need to say anything, especially if you're kind of fucked up. Trust me, I will find what and who I need moment to moment, and if I need you, I'll let you know.

    And - I'm just gonna put this out there - if we're on a dancefloor, honestly, sometimes not saying anything is better. Dancefloors have always been my ultimate healing places and sometimes in moments where I need that healing I prefer not to interrupt that, even if by a gorgeous, loving friend. I would much prefer just a smile/acknowledgement and knowing that we are honouring the music together. I know you are rad and that you care, and just feeling your vibes will be support in the best way. We can interact / embrace / talk later. Now I'm just saying this, not insisting on it, but I have to say it because music is my healer, and I expect to immerse myself in its beauty this summer to the fullest degree. So yes... you will often see me on the dancefloor.

    I will also most likely be shifting my writing energy over to process and lyrics for the next little bit, so blog posts may be infrequent for a minute. This shift was happening anyway and I think it may be part of a bigger shift for the whole intention behind the blog in general - but don't worry. I'll be back, I will always blog, and trust me I am writing. I am just feeling a little more private right now.I certainly will be dedicating a large amount of time to Chelsey and her memory, and creating space for us to honour her, but right now I am focusing on accepting that this is real.

    Please please please hold the ones you love close. Tell them you love them. Honour them. Love them above all. And please light a candle for my beautiful, fabulous, powerful sister  - now, or, if you wish, on the afternoon of July 4th, when I will be honouring her with my family in Winnipeg. 

    With love above all, always and forever. For real.

    xoxoxo
    Crystal Precious

    Burlesque State of The Union Address - by Kate Valentine via Crystal Precious

    Ohhhh schmack! Guess who just uploaded a little teasy-montage from a film shoot from about 8 months ago... thought I would share. Pretty sure this is the last vid I did pre-inked and pre-Slave Master J (my trainer, for more on that go to my post Thoughts on A Shrinking Sasspot)... so I look a little different now... but I really liked the way Stuart MacKay-Smith put this together. Grindy-styles. Yup.



    Yarr. Ok now down to biz. I really wanted to post this to my blog and never got around to it, so I figured since so much of my creative writing juice has being re-directed to lyric-land lately I would do so now. The following is a compilation of two speeches given at BurlyCon 2011 by Kate Valentine of NYC – creator of The Va Va Voom Room (1997), a contemporary burlesque pioneer, and one of the best emcees in the business. Dis be her:



    Kate is an artist and producer that I deeply admire. Last year I had the pleasure of having her come to see our work at the Keefer Bar and to learn from her about the art of emceeing. In many ways this address is a love letter to the future of my profession, and I really think that artists / DJs / musicians across the board can relate to what she is saying. In it she eloquently repeats many of the key points I've been trying to drill into people's heads for the better part of the last ten years and I could not be more thrilled to have it cross my inbox no less than nine times in the last twelve months by people who recognize her views with being in line with my own. Seeing as how the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, Legend Tribute and International Queen of Burlesque Pageant will be taking place next week in Las Vegas, it's not a bad time to post it as a reminder to keep in mind while we pay respect and reverence to the Hall.

    This speech represents a gutsy departure from the frustrating tendency I've noticed within our industry towards artistic conformity, social climbing, and a fight for validation withing the community instead of allowing the work to speak for itself and transcend beyond our own stages. One of the key mandates for the Sweet Soul troupe has always been to bring neo-burlesque to new audiences. In order to do this we must expand and surpass our own definitions of what the artform entails, and to whom it appeals. 


    To be clear: even though I am working on my first record, have coined what I do as "strip-hop", etc etc... I absolutely still consider myself a professional neo-burlesque performer. I love striptease, I will always love striptease, and I will do striptease whenever I WANT TO, not because I think I have to.
    I've already spent the better part of the decade trying to make people understand that a woman can be a super sassy, sexy stripteaser AND be regarded as an intelligent, creative, respectable, artistic human being... and it's become very clear to me that I've barely scratched the surface of what this concept can do / bring to mainstream mentality. My entire life and livelihood around this work and what it represents. It is indeed "precious" to me, so to speak, and should be treated as such. Thank you to Kate for saying these things. Respect.

    Congrats also to Lola Frost and Cherry OnTop who will be repping Sweet Soul on The Strip this year, nominated as part of the duo category at the Orleans for this gorgeous piece that raw-ripped my heart out at the Vogue this year:





    Well wishes also to Kitty Nights' Burgundy Brixx for her nomination for the Crown Queen of Burlesque, it is a much-deserved nomination and she will be greatly supported by her fans and family here on the West Coast.


    ******


    State of the Union Address, by Kate Valentine

    “There are many things I love about burlesque. On a personal level, it has given me not only an opportunity to perform but an ability to control my performance destiny which is a great gift. Without this specific form of live cabaret entertainment, many dancers and actors are left at the mercy of auditioning, agents and casting directors. The burlesque format keeps the performer in the drivers seat. Additionally, it is great for the performer that enjoys creating their own work. One can be the author of their own stories, which is unique to burlesque.

    I did not know I was a director or a producer or an emcee until I began doing it. And liking it. And becoming good at it (probably in that order). For me again personally, working as an emcee was a totally unforeseen direction and has shaped me as an artist. By working in a format that demands direct address to the audience as well as tons of improvisation, I was able to confront and discard fears I had as an actor in profound ways. I was able to embrace failure and play in my work — something absolutely essential to me creating anything worth looking at/listening to on stage.

    When I became involved in burlesque I came to be surrounded by a group of women who did not define themselves by what they were not, or in direct comparison to others. I found myself in rooms of women where the conversation did not automatically devolve into the standard rhetoric of self-deprecation. What a relief! And more of a relief because it was not a political group taking a stance. It was organic — we just had so much more to talk about.

    I am so grateful to the group of artists and wild people that have I come to know through burlesque. My experience has almost always been that of a supportive family, which is a rare gift.

    “My goal is not just to complain, but to suggest some potential solutions to these issues and to open up a constructive line of dialogue…”


    I love that the best of neo-burlesque presents a vision of female sexuality that lands distinctly outside of the white hetero-normative male gaze. It is so powerful and liberating to see women of all stripes expressing their sexuality in a fun and funny ways. I was always aware of this, even in the earliest days of the neo-burlesque movement, that it was such a relief for everyone (and that included the white hetero normative males!) to be able to explore their sexuality outside that narrow definition of what we are all supposed to find attractive.

    I am also very glad that the neo-burlesque world has expanded to include not only men, but also the gender queer community. The inclusiveness of burlesque helps to side-step a sticky wicket within the form: why do women need to show their empowerment via nudity and sexuality? Does everything, including your power, need to be strained through the prism female objectification? Couldn’t it be argued that this is an Uncle Tom feminism?

    Even as a fan and purveyor of burlesque I can only answer that question partially to my satisfaction, but I do think certain things within the burlesque “scene” go a long way toward a response. The first, is having men and gender queer performers. This opens up the discussion the sexuality and nudity as human expression general, not “female” this or that. Additionally, the brilliant tradition of having legend’s night at the Burlesque Hall of Fame creates a visual thesis of The Best of Burlesque: because it shows the ultimate taboo: aging women, expressing themselves in a robust and unapologetic way.


    Stripping, stripped of its codifiers, such as youth and “beauty” leaves the audience to look at what burlesque is at its best, baring oneself unapologetically to the world — a true reveal.

    Of course it should also be FUN. Burlesque is a confection and its sweet fluffy quality deflates under too much inspection. Burlesque then or now, did not begin as a political movement and all of its messages are best when they play as subtext, like a wink and a smile.

    Then again, there are also so many things I hate about neo-burlesque. Barefoot burlesque, burletiquette, tedious full nudity that reveals your anus and inner labia. But I would like to focus here on some issues that are not merely pet peeves, but issues that I consider serious threats to the future of the form. My goal is not just to complain, but to suggest some potential solutions to these issues and to open up a constructive line of dialogue. I believe that my dedication to this art form over the last 15 plus years earns me the right to speak publicly and critically about matters which I consider to be important.

    I believe that neo-burlesque is and should be an art form. It may be “low art”, but at its best it is able to make the banal sublime. It has the capacity to create joy in people, an experience essential to our human condition. The only way to preserve neo-burlesque as an art form is to create high professional standards within the genre.

    There are two different arms of the current neo-burlesque world. One is the hobbyists, what I call Stitch n’ Bitch burlesque performers. They are huge fans of the genre and they got involved because they wanted to explore their sexuality, their body issues, or their love of retro clothing. They wanted to find a community of like-minded, fun, supportive party people. Then there are the career professionals. They may come from a background in theatre or dance. Most of them pursue burlesque as their full-time career or in addition to their other artistic work.

    Both of these arms of the burlesque community are totally valid and extremely valuable. The problem is that they are often indistinct, or worse, the Stitch n’ Bitch performers are under the impression that they are members of the professional group. Its easy to see why this happens. These two groups are constantly existing side by side and on a seemingly equal plane. The burlesque world is a friendly and accessible place with a very D.I.Y. vibe. Additionally, as a “low art” it looks deceptively easy to do: Why, any liberated, cute gal who is willing to take off her clothes in public can do it right? In a word, no.

    When I first starting doing burlesque in the ’90′s peoples response was always intrigue and interest. Now when I tell people I am a burlesque performer they say, “Oh.” “Oh”, meaning I saw one bad show and I know all I need to know about burlesque.

    Take the time to become skilled and educated about the genre of neo-burlesque. I have heard burlesque schools faulted for the influx of new burlesque performers today, as if burlesque schools are creating an endless race of mutant strippers. I do not believe this to be true. The schools are responding to an interest in the genre and giving people information and techniques that they would not have if they just jumped into burlesque on their own.

    Perhaps, however, the schools could put in place more structured levels from which people graduate, so they are gently discouraged from immediately entering the burlesque circuit if they are not prepared to do so. Maybe there could be some encouragement for people with different levels of interest to join different groups: there could be a group of Burly pals who could perform for each other and discuss body positive stuff. And more perhaps importantly we could form a Burlesque Guild where the professionals were given the services and protections that are afforded in some other unions.

    By the way, the problem of not knowing when you are Stitch n’ Bitch definitely extends to world of teaching. Please tell me you have been working professionally for at lest 5 years before you attempt to teach something to others. And if you are teaching striptease or any form of dance, dear god, please have had some dance training yourself. If you don’t, really, what are you thinking? Are you trying to make money? Go into real estate or better yet work at a strip club. It will be much more lucrative!

    The only way to preserve neo-burlesque as an art form is to create high professional standards within the genre.

    Part of the root of the problem with neo-burlesque seems to be issues around money. Burlesque is not a get rich scheme. My belief is that as artists we have chosen to value something above money: ideals like Beauty, Transformation, and Communication with the world. We seek to have Collective Experiences with our fellow humans which resonate and give us a larger understanding of why we are here. Therefore, your first priority should be the pursuit of these ideals. You value your ideals enough to present and be presented in works of quality, works that perhaps require some financial commitment.

    What you must understand is that if you do a bad show it is wrecking it for everyone, including the people you probably idolize. What do I mean when I say a bad show? Well, for starters, an emcee is not the icing on the cake of the show, its the eggs. Three performers each stripping three times is not a show. It is crap. Do you really want to be a present that the audience opens for a third time? If you cannot afford an emcee or more than three performers then, quite simply, you cannot afford to present a show.

    Additionally, how it could possibly make sense to start merchandising oneself before one has a real act is beyond me. The post-Madonna world tells you that all you need is self-confidence and a little PR savvy and everything is possible. This logic says talent is smallest part of the equation for success. But think about it: you are standing alone on stage taking off your clothes. Have the self-respect to have taken a dance class and be prepared. Then and only then should you consider making a t-shirt.

    On the other hand, some of the very best performers of this genre in the world will do a show for $5.00 and half a warm beer. When some random newbie stands alongside the best of us in a show it gives her and everyone like her the impression that all they need to do is “put themselves out there” and they will get gigs and make money. And they will be right. Because this is what continues to happen. And the producers (usually performers themselves) hire lesser performers because they can get them for cheaper. And the professionals want to take any gig they can because they “need the money”, yet in doing so they lower their market value.

    It is terribly shortsighted to be the best thing in a show. Maybe its cute for your ego, but it does nothing for you in the end. Strive and work towards being in well produced, well constructed theatre where you are one delicious ingredient in a fantastic stew. It is hindering and possibly killing the longevity of the form for shows to contain the greatest and the most amateurish acts on the same bill. You should value yourself enough to get paid what you are worth or acknowledge with clarity that you are a novice and that your rate of pay should be less.

    The problem with less than stellar work extends beyond burlesque novices. These days some highly visible burlesque performers, people who make some or most their living doing this, still cannot be bothered to put much effort into burlesque. They under-rehearse, or don’t rehearse at all, spend too much time or none focusing on their costumes, and/or create work that is insider-ish and self-referencing. Their burlesque is completely about themselves. You hear so many people backstage proclaiming themselves and their sisters to be geniuses that you would think it was a meeting of the Mensa society. A community that is supportive is one thing, one that is coddling is another. Meanwhile, take a look beyond the curtain. Your audience are slumped in their seats, rolling their eyes. They are bored. Why not take that extra leap and try to be exceptional. Burlesque is not curing cancer, but it can be transformational and transporting if done right.

    When the Miss Exotic World Pageant began on the goat farm of Helendale, California it was clear what it was. It was a reunion for old strippers and the people that loved them. It was a Mecca to a quirky oasis in the desert where bikers, hookers, and Bettie Page girls from L.A. hung out under the hot sun. The Miss Exotic World pageant was a publicity stunt to entice people to the desert, as Dixie has said. It was all heart and pure camp.

    The move to Las Vegas in 2006 created a lot of amazing changes for Exotic World. With Vegas came slick production values, a huge attendance, and the presence of burlesque on the International Stage. These are all huge advancements in the public awareness of burlesque. Yet one of the side effects of this shift from Helendale to Vegas is that it changed the tone of the event. Suddenly, Miss Exotic World, both the event and the title were sucked of their irony. This was, for a growing number, a real pageant with huge stakes. The people who are now involved, despite their better natures, fall quickly into the trap of un-ironic competition. I have seen tears and back biting, self-loathing and self-recrimination.

    What the fuck does this have to do with burlesque? Neo-burlesque is for strong feminist women. Women who support and celebrate other women. A true pageant, an old remnant from a pre-feminist era, has no business being at the heart of our community. It is wildly self-destructive and the antithesis of everything the burlesque community stands for.

    Besides which, at the center of Exotic World is a museum which needs public funding to succeed. Who is likely to take us and our art form seriously when something as antiquated as a beauty pageant is at the center of our largest function of the year? The pageant is a blight in the center of BHOF, since the realization of a museum could be our highest achievement as a genre.

    My solution is to make the Burlesque Hall of Fame an actual Burlesque Hall of Fame. In the place of the pageant there would be individuals or groups that would be inducted by a board made up of all the previous Exotic World winners, as nominated by their peers. The awards would then be based not upon one performance one night, but based on a body of work. An induction into the Hall of Fame would then feel like a win not just for the individual, but for the entire genre of burlesque. I am so grateful to be a part of BHOF and to host its main event, but I would be more proud if it was something that made all the participants feel good. This change could provide something that would give everyone involved in the art form something big and beautiful to aspire towards.

    The reason why everyone was so happy this year when Miss Indigo Blue won the Miss Exotic World title was not because of her lovely performance that night, but because she deserved it: deserved the accolades and attention and respect for all of her years in service to this art form.

    There is no reason why this change would prevent any of the other lovely and sparkly things that happen during the BHOF weekend to cease to exist. We could still have Legends Night. We could still have evenings of electrifying performances from both fresh faces and seasoned favorites. We would just remove the part that is out of date and an impediment to the progress of our form both from an internal and an external perspective.

    The secret problem with this otherwise completely inspired plan, is that we have to find a way for this version BHOF 2.0 to be financially viable. Will people donate to the museum if their donation is not taken in the form of a MEW application fee? Will people travel and perform at MEW if there is not the carrot of winning a trophy at the end? I truly hope so, but it is our job as a community to present alternatives to the board of BHOF and create our future together.

    One solution might be offering BHOF scholarships to shining new members of the community. Or work opportunities to the inductees. If there was a pledge from the major schools and troupes nationally or even internationally to book the inductees for tour and teaching gigs on their induction year, maybe this could prove a good incentive to continued attendance and financial support of BHOF. I realize I am placing a lot of work at the feet of the schools of burlesque but with great power comes great responsibility, as they say in Spiderman comics.

    There are many ways of being involved in burlesque. Let the very last one be performing on stage for money. See shows, Take a class, write about burlesque, perform in workshops for your friends. There is only one good reason to be working professionally as a burlesque artist: because you have talent and ability to entertain an audience and a deep desire to do that."

    - Kate Valentine, aka Miss Astrid Von Voomer, NYC


    Lana Del Rey Effs Up On SNL (& the Downside of Chair Lifts)

    I can't help it... my heart goes out to the trending Miss Lana Del Rey today following her unfortunate world debut on SNL as a live performer. I'm a HUGE fan of her recordings & videos and I can't imagine how she must feel. There's nothing worse than knowing that you disappointed your fans at a huge show; I can't even fathom it at this magnitude. I can't even post it cuz it's so painful to watch and I feel like a bad person for spreading the awkward. You can google it if you really want to see it or you can just trust me: it was bad. Actually maybe don't google it on second thought. "Blue Jeans", my fave song... oh. I had to pretend it didn't happen and then put the album recording on my iPod like 4 times in a row to cleanse my brain of it.

    I guess the lesson is this: if you're gorgeous & have a lovely voice & insane connections & you get signed to interscope & breathe into a hot neumann & have slick production & get your name changed & perfect your steez & have expensive sha-nay-nay & gansta nail techs & agents & management & whip-smart promoters that slice quick cuts of beloved cultural icons in your videos on YouTube, you can get really famous pretty damn quick. (btw, I'll take one of all of those k? yay k thanks. Yahhh!!!)

    But no one can shortcut to getting their stage chops. You gotta earn 'em over the years like everyone else.

    Not sure how that fact got lost, and at SNL to boot. I mean even Britney, who is arguably the most contrived and marketed pop star ever, had been onstage for 10 years straight before she broke out at 16. I just don't understand how anyone could book a singer who's barely ever sang live for the most-watched live weekly broadcast on the continent and expect it to go well. It makes no sense. It's ridiculous. As anyone who has tried will tell you, singing onstage is like being in another dimension. You have to focus on a million different things... time feels different. Lights are in your face blinding the shit out of you. A lot of time you have trouble hearing yourself. People and noises in the crowd are distracting you. You have fellow performers and musicians onstage to be mindful of (rhythm etc). You have aware of your position to make sure you stay in the light, hear your monitor, don't feedback, be aware / control your expressive movements & choreography, watch the mic angle & distance, remember all the lyrics & melodies, breathe in the right places, bring up the energy in the room, figure out a way to evoke emotion and response, and also, make sure your hair doesn't get stuck to your lipgloss (sooo annoying). And I haven't even MENTIONED battling nerves yet. Etc etc etc. It's not the same as recording AT ALL, and it's not easy. You can't just expect someone to be able to do it well right away.

    As far as all the hurtful (albeit fairly true) comments online about Lana Del Rey's performance, it's a textbook case of the hype trap. When hype builds, the danger is that makes people very critical. It feels too good to be true, and so people wait for the other shoe to drop. Lo and behold. Are we really surprised? We might be in the digital age but this isn't the Matrix. You can't download skill sets like that.

    It reminds me of something really important though, which is the whole reason I'm writing this blog, and that is to take a moment to appreciate the slow climb. Because even though I probably would have denied this even a few years ago, I really think the slow climb to fame has SO many advantages over getting catapulted there overnight. #1 - you get good at shit. I feel that if Sweet Soul ever did get a chance to perform on some high-profile show like SNL, I think by the time we got there we would FUCKING MURDER IT. Ya know? BECAUSE of the slow climb. #2: you have time to get wise to fact that fame is the strange bullshit part and that really, it's just a tool to put more art into the world, which is the real part. I know this might sound like lipservice cuz I'm a performer and it's instinctively in my nature to love attention, but honestly, "being famous" has never been the goal for me. Traveling the world doing what I love is. I guess one facilitates the other in a profession such as mine, but fame could never be an end unto itself.

    Just like in the Wizard of Oz (best movie ever) or the Hobbit, the journey is always where the story happens right? How shitty would it be for us if they were like, "...and then we took a helicoptor to Mordor." THIS IS LIFE, right now. I would much rather look around, breathe the fresh air, see the alpine flowers, celebrate the milestones and enjoy the company than hop on a chairlift, race to the top and miss everything (nevermind that chairlifts aren't open in the summer, don't ruin my fucking metaphor). Yeah. So even if it makes me sweaty and gives me leg cramps sometimes, I am grateful for the slow climb.

    As for Miss Lana Del Rey, all I can do is wish her strength. I also really hope that she will get back up there, because it's the only way she'll get better at it. I also hope that this doesn't keep her from making more music because I really love her songs.

    Hearts
    xoox
    CP

    Thoughts from A Shrinking Sasspot

    Hokay hokay. 2012!!! Year of the dragon, year shit gets happening, year of sass.

    As far as any of the Mayan calendar shiz, I feel this illustration pretty much encapsulates how I feel about all that:

    Yeah. Well. What's it gonna do, be never ending? They'd still be carving the damn thing. At one point you just need to put that shit down and go kill a tiger or whatever.

    As far as resolutions are concerned, I'm just gonna be honest and say that I'm gonna keep working on the 10 I made last year. I'm cool with that. They were pretty ambitious, as they should've been. I'm proud to say I've crossed a few off the list. And I'm gonna go ahead and also recommend that before people get all launchy with their own resolution plans, they should take a fucking hot minute to acknowledge the shit they've actually accomplished this year and in recent years past. And for the love of sass, pay no attention to assholes who say that having a moment with yourself to acknowledge a job well done is tacky and indulgent. Mama Sass says that's outdated psychotic conservatism. It's IMPORTANT to do that, especially if you're about to set out doing some new stuff. It increases... what do they call that? Morale. Which basically means to feel sassy, which I endorse doing about 80 thousand percent of the time.

    So you know, I got a some shit I've been working on that I feel pretty good about. Not just career stuff (which you'll see soon, trust me), but personally. I've got

    DJG's URB podcast

    on (so good) so I'm ready to throw them down. Readdddyyy???

    Drumroll for the biggest one by far: I quit smoking. Well, I still smoke if I'm trashed, let's be honest. But like one or two smokes every week on average compared to half a pack a day three years ago??? BOOOOOOOM. I obviously deserve like, 8000 blowjobs. My lungs & voice agree.

    I exercise regularly now. Honestly, I actually fucking do this. Imagine, this weird habit that makes you feel awesome and gives you energy... that ISN'T cocaine! Whoaaaaaa!!!! AMAZING. So how, you ask, did I manage to get on this train and successfully combat my acute CLD (chronic laziness disorder)? Well, I've been putting all that extra smoking money into yoga & kickboxing sessions. I know, I know, I don't NEEED to do that, but I find that for regular exercise to work for me, I need to rely heavily on the "social-shame" factor of going to group classes. By this I mean that once you show up, you can't really stop or leave without looking like an asshole. Since social anxiety is a much more developed quality in me than self-discipline, I find that this works like a charm. Try it out. And if you have trouble getting to the classes themselves, pick a friend that you hate bailing on and make a regular date with them. I picked Tristan Risk, who is pretty and scary at the same time.

    See? You wouldn't really want to fuck with her, nor would you want to miss a chance to see her all sweaty. I'm telling you, it works. And before you get into the whole "so expensive, why don't you just download exercise videos" thing, yes it's expensive and yes I HAVE downloaded those exercise videos before. But, not gonna lie, I sometimes end up just watching them and eating chips. Like that HipHop Abs shit? Um, yum. That guy is fucking HOT, even if he's definately gay. Carmen Electra is another one of my favorites. Cheesy as fuck but wow. OK I'm gettin distracted here. Moving on.

    I also changed my diet pretty intensely, which was needed. I'm not gonna name any names, but there used to be some bitch walking around in my apt that liked to make a box of instant stuffing as a snack. I'm not saying I'm a crazy raw food vegan now or anything but I'm definitely hanging out in veggie land more often now. It's not so bad. Turns out there's lots of different kinds! And some of them are cute! Brussel sprouts, for example. Ohhhh... like tiny cabbages! Also mini corns! And I discovered that yellow wax beans chilled kind of look and crunch like french fries. Sort of. Especially if you're high.

    Ok here's the real kicker. Recently I discovered that wheat & cow dairy are no longer my friends via a series of homeopathic tests I underwent to identify what's been causing my chronic allergy symptoms. This was totally traumatizing for me. I know a lot of people would argue wheat & dairy are no one's friends anyway... but let me tell you something motherfuckers, cheese was my fucking FRIEND. Ok? Cheese was always there for me. It didn't judge me or berate me or stand me up or let me down. Ever. It was my friend and we had a really intimate relationship for a long, long time. I'm being totally serious. I fucking. Love. Cheese. But as with all relationships that are super physically satisfying yet inherently unhealthy, it was time to face the stupid fucking truth (sniff), have one last hunk of swiss, and then say goodbye. Because fuck it. It's not worth it. Lord knows if I could dump the so-hot-in-bed-dude who finally admitted he thought burlesque was "tacky" in my 20's, I can damn-well kick the cheese that's making me sick in my 30's, right?

    At least I live in the fucking hippie tra-la-la capital of the world where I can find goat & daiya products up the ying-yang of every corner of Commercial Drive.(I'm actually still not entirely sure what Daiya is, but apparently it melts, so it gets my support). Plus there is a ton of non-wheat shit out there now too. I mean half the frickin' planet is full of people that don't even

    have

    food. So I'm just gonna shut the fuck up and eat these vegetables and daiya shit and carry on. Plus they make goat brie now, and I can have that. Everything's actually fine. Honestly.

    Now as you can imagine (and as I've mentioned in a few previous posts) this combination of events has resulted in a bit of a recent weight loss. And I imagine that this weight loss won't really stop until my body settles at the weight it naturally wants to be when I am, shock of shocks, eating properly and exercising regularly. You know, so, acting like a normal person who respects her body and shit.

    This seemed to me like a good thing until I got a series of facebook messages along the same lines as these:

    "You better stop shrinking."

    "That was good, but I like you curvier better."

    "Just don't get too skinny."

    Or my personal favorite, which went like so:

    "You're not gonna turn into a skinny bitch, are you? Think of all the people you'd be disappointing".

    Uh...

    Now normally I wouldn't give a fuck about random comments hurtled towards my body size (trust me, I have endured everything from kiddie insults to the much-worse "but I think I'm just too superficial for you" heart-smushing guy rejections). These ones stuck out though because I really

    do

    care quite a bit about the people who come to my shows, read my blog, watch my videos, etc. You could say I feel endebted to them, to say the least. So it didn't really make me feel very good when I started getting approached at gigs with people saying the same things, essentially, over and over... and not to be complementary. Certain acquaintances and even a former employer started poking criticisms at me for "shrinking" with evident disdain. I had some sad face. I tried to ignore it but it kept happening.

    I realize that it's not every day you see a performer my size confidently prancing around in outfits smaller than postage stamps, and I'm grateful that I've been able to help "round out" the conventional beauty standard in my industry a bit (so to speak). But I'm a little confused by these reactions, because I kinda thought that the whole point was that my dress size didn't define my ability to entertain an audience. It didn't when I was auditioning for TV roles in my late teens, and it doesn't now. And I should very much hope that my curviness isn't the

    only

    ENTIRE REASON people enjoy my work!! I mean, after officially doing this for ten years, please, oh lord please, please also let it be because I'm KIND OF AWESOME?? Maybe? Hopefully? A little even?

    Also. This may come as a giant shock, but a lot of "skinny bitches" are my best friends. If we are going to stop allotting social value to how much a person weighs, IT CAN'T BE A DOUBLE STANDARD, ummkayyyy. So stop with the skinny bitch routine, I'm not into it. I'm also not into being labeled a BBW, so straight dudes, stop pushing me into a porn category or asking me where my black boyfriend is. Seriously. I've dated all kinds, including crazy hot girls, couples, and dudes who have dated me AND skinny supermodels... so SETTLE DOWN. Also - and this is a controversial one but this is how I personally feel about it- producers. Please stop asking me to do shows that only feature bigger women. Meh. It's even worse when they call it "real" women. NEWS FLASH: We are all "real women", size 22 or 2. We stand together. That's how this works. It's the only way it CAN work, in my opinion.

    So I just wanted to respond to any concerns of my gorgeous and much-appreciated show peeps who may be speculating about what's up: I'm still the same human and I stand for the same things. I didn't lose weight to be accepted or to conform then, I'm not doing it for "acceptance" now. To do that would be going against everything I stand for. And while I'll always be curvy (I'm never gonna disappear, trust me darlings... I wasn't built for that), I

    am

    gonna take care of myself. I wanna be around to do this for awhile. I have to be.

    So yeah. Exercising, breaking up with cow cheese & calming my vices has been fucking hard, but I did it... well, for the most part. And by gosh I'm gonna take a minute to pat myself on the motherfucking back. And don't you forget to do the same thing ummmkay. Or I will eat your fucking daiya when you're not looking.

    Just so you can see what I mean, a pic from a few years ago...

    and a newer one from this past year....

    Wanna to be able to do a giant show every night you know? That shit takes stamina mothereff's. Did you know Mick Jagger still runs 12 miles a day to keep up his stage endurance?? What the fuck. What the FUCK. No wonder he managed to bone so many chicks. That alone sounded pretty physically demanding, not gonna lie.

    Wanted to leave you with a vid of Warrior's Performance where I deliberately accentuate my thighs. Thunder thighs of power! I used to giggle (and obviously be sad back in the day) when people called me thunder thighs because I was like, "uh... as if that doesn't sound like a super power, dumbasses".

    And ps, if you're going to get on the movement train may I shamelessly recommend any of the extra sassy fun classes at

    Vancouver Burlesque Centre

    and specifically, Brenda Holmes' Yoga class. She's the best yoga instructor I've ever had. Ever. Seriously. Super warm vibes, knowledgeable, clear and has the sickest music during class. If these rates are still too pricey for you e-mail me & I will let you know about a karma class that she does.

    Oh man. I am so so full of excitedness about this year I can barely handle it.

    Trust me when I say this... you ain't seen NOTHING yet.

    Huge love,

    xoxoo

    CP

    Skrillex's Grammy nods.. yay or nay?

    Soooooo... BIG NEWS EVERYBODY.

    Skrillex got a billion Grammy nominations!

    (Ok, not a billion, but like, 5. Which is like 80 hundred thousand in the electronic music world). This of course has spawned a bunch of hilarious reactionary shizzle and many many blogs wondering WHY and IF this dude should get nominated. Clearly I need to participate. Puhlayse. Like I could resist.

    So I get online and there is already a healthy facebook thread started by supreme sass

    FunkHunter

    Nick Middleton, and among many yay! or boo! comments (Nick was a yay, fyi) this one stood out for me by

    Timothy Wisdom

    :

    "I think people hate on

    Skrillex

    because of this: Dubstep started as a "cool" niche genre of music that had only a small number of fans. Let's call them "heads", however the dubstep they listened to isn't very much like Skrillex's music at all. The "heads" like being part of an exclusive group as it makes them feel special and unique - something that most of us enjoy feeling. Then dubstep became a mainstream genre and the "heads" lost a part of their exclusive identity. It's natural for people to instinctively reach for exterior blame and Skrillex (and Rusko prior to this) has become the scapegoat. I believe this has happened with loads of other types of music as well. I recall being angry at the Red Hot Chillies for making "Blood Sugar" and selling out their punk roots - and Nirvana for the same reason. Really, I was just upset at loosing my "I'm more punk than you" vibe. The same applies here."

    So here's what I have to think about this, because honestly I've seen a lot of the same mentality that Tim is talking about in the burlesque community over the years. To be honest, I think a lot of “heads” don't really have much investment anymore in being part of a super-cool, elusive extra punk group. I think now they'd much rather get flown around & make a ton of money (and not at the expense of their musical integrity), especially after struggling for the last dozen years. I think the general frustration comes from realizing that the type of music that Skrillex makes has a mass appeal in a way that the headier music might never. As sensitive artist types, we have a reaction - because what does that say about the masses? It's not unlike pop music in that way. And the frustrating reality is that not everyone gives a fuck about the nuances of music the same way that artists do. NOT EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST. My sister is a good example of this. She doesn't give a fuck. She just wants to dance, and rage. Also – she won't go out LOOKING for specific music the same way artists & DJs do, and so most people who just want to rage will do so to the best thing they can find THAT IS HANDED TO THEM. This is also frustrating because it The Hand looks for mass appeal for an entirely different reason: capitalism.

    Personally, I'm stoked for the Skrillex dude because it seems that coincidentally he genuinely enjoys making music that has mass appeal. It seems at least like he rose to fame the old-school way, instead of being “made” by the industry. I'd MUCH rather see his face on TV than a boyband. I think the masses love his music for a reason and need it. I don't listen to it, but apparently I am not the only person that matters. (If I was,

    Rupaul

    would be president and I would be writing this from a pink helicopter).

    Now. As to how it will affect our community, I think that has more to do with what Tim's saying. Skillex's success (and the success of the mainstream-ish dubstep acts in general) has definitely cracked open the "secret" door to our underground, non-corporate event world like

    Shambhala

    . Ummm... that shit is selling out 9 months in advance now??? SERIOUSLY. WHAT the FUCK?? I really feel that it's so important to not lose sight of the fact that this is AMAZING FOR US. Puhlayse. I don't know a DJ who doesn't fucking love performing at Shambs. Don't even fucking try to tell me that you know someone who doesn't love bangin' out on those systems, or playing to the massive crowds of people LOSING THEIR SHIT. And so what if the crowd contains a whole wack of new kids who heard about it through Skillex? Who cares? That's fine, and great. I didn't become a burlesque dancer so I could perform only to other burlesque dancers & their friends for my whole life. That's the whole reason WHY I dance at Shambs, or at

    Keefer

    , or in the Yukon, or even at a frickin' retirement home (I seriously did that with Lola last year. It was fancy. And awesome. And they FUCKING LOVED it). Because I want to bring what I'm doing to new audiences. Because I'll never forget that moment, at 15, when I heard my first hard-core DJ. Or when, at 21, I saw my first burlesque dancer. And trust me, I was FAR from super cool or in the exclusive group or knew anything about anything back then. All I can say is, thank god that happened. Can you imagine if it hadn't!?? OMG. I shudder at the thought.

    At the end of the day, we will always still have our more exclusive, artist-oriented events. They will always be there, they will always materialize (

    Basscoast

    comes to mind). And there we can feel all super cool and listen to "future music" or whatever the fuck we are calling it that week and spend the money we made performing for AWESOME new kids who just want to be inspired. Yay. EVERYBODY WINS.

    SO. Good for you, Skrillex. From what I hear you are a super nice dude and I couldn't be happier for you. And if any of the shit talk gets you down, just buy some louder fucking speakers. GO FORTH VALIANT BROSTEPPER!!!

    xoxo

    CP

    PS: Oh yeah, valiance. In case you haven't heard... the whole Dollhouse crew is getting together to throw a giant party on NYE... underground... and let me tell you, it is REALLY REALLY NOT going to suck.

    All the detes are here.

    It is going to be SEVERE. Seriously. SERIOUSLY.

    ok for real now.

    xoxo

    CP

    Anal Bleaching & Burlesque Feminism

    "I have a suspicion — and hear me out, because this is a rough one — that the definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.”

    -Tina Fey

    Oh Hi!!!!!!!! Aries Full Moon time!!! Means CP is rarrrrring to go. Seriously I cannot wait for my show tomorrow at Keefer; I'm full of fire and sass and passion and sizzla-max electricity and I'm putting some hell spittin' heat into a new track by

    Self Evident

    . RRRRROARRRR. Life is fucking rad right now and it's only getting better.

    Occupy Vancouver

    is on Saturday and my grrlz and I are gonna go RAGE it. HARD. So into it... HYPED.

    I'm also SUPER pumped to go see

    MissRepresentation

    at Vancouver International Film Festival on Friday, which deals primarily with how more bitches need to be helping run media and politics and shit. That way we can stop the greedy-ass capitalist agenda'd 1% assholes from tricking us into spending all our time, money and energy

    bleaching our assholes

    instead of making the world a better place.

    Oh yes, you heard me. The beauty industry literally has NOTHING LEFT to criticize except our assholes. Our assholes! That's how fucking ridiculous it's gotten. Because now apparently, every woman's asshole is a SHAMEFUL, DIRTY HOLE - unless you spend hundreds of dollars putting peroxide and harmful chemicals on it so that it is prettier and whiter (because whiter = not DIRTY and GROSS), so that "men" will want to fuck our assholes more. BECAUSE HAVING A LIGHT PINK, FUCKABLE ASSHOLE IS REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT EVERYBODY.

    $75-a-treatment important!

    (Or do it yourself at home for only $39.95!)

    Of course upon hearing this I immediately called fellow Sweet Soul grrl

    Tristan Risk

    to hurry over and bleach my asshole. I have a date this weekend dammit!!! I couldn't possibly want anyone to see my DIRTY, UNBLEACHED ASSHOLE. Oh my god, I would like, totally die. (Thankfully friend & photog

    David Denofreo

    was there to capture it... you can click to enlarge and get Tristan's technique here).

    Hey, you know who I think is a dirty, unbleached asshole? Ummm... how about the fucker who came up with this fucking bullshit?? This is so preposterous that even

    fucking COSMO is warning their readers against it

    , and you know it's REALLY bad when THAT happens.

    Now of course this is yet another example of a porn-star fad turning mainstream and it deeply, deeply concerns me. Because it sounds absurd but the horrible truth is that it really, really does feel like that being fuckable is the most important quality a woman can possess, over intelligence, creativity, kindness... any other characteristic or accomplishment. Throughout history we've been taught this, both women and men. It's fucking infuriating and unfair and awful but hey, it sells anal bleach! Plus it distracts us from trying to speak up or try to do the things that the men are busy doing like running the country, and it keeps us feeling anxious and shitty and broke and making tanning appointments. As long as we're alll spending our time and money trying to look like pornstars (or a thinly disguised pornstar with tattoos and glasses or whatever), we'll have some semblance of value, self-worth and clout. So I guess we should all keep doing that right?

    Oh.. except guess what? While I do enjoy feeling like I'm sexually attractive --- at least to some people, and perferably to one that I too find sexually attractive ---  I DON'T WANT TO SPEND ALL MY TIME OBSESSING OVER THAT, because it's exhausting and honestly, kind of set up to be an unattainable trap. So where does that leave me? Hmm. Sheeeeeeeeeeit.

    Now we're obviously touching on the political side of why I do what I do right on the head here so I'm gonna get into it a little. Honestly, I do understand why people are sometimes confused as to how I can be a topless rapping performer who spends thousands every year on costumes and make-up and yet still be a hard-core feminist against asshole bleaching. It actually makes more sense than you might think. At the end of the day it all comes down to calling the shots about where and how I decide to be sexual, instead of having other people decide that for me.

    First up, I have never enjoyed having my "fuckability" in ANY WAY be a factor when it comes to people interacting with me other than in a way that involves me possibly also wanting to have sex with them. Whether I'm being interviewed for a job, preparing a seminar for a company, auditioning for a voice-over gig, walking past a construction site, or choosing produce in the grocery store, I am usually not putting myself out there to be measured and evaluated for my fuckability. AND YET, it seems that there are still men in the world who don't really understand that my main purpose in life is not to be sexually appealing to them. This frustrates me to no end. This is why I love my punk rock grrlz, my riot grrlz and my queer friends who aesthetically move away from what is largely considered standard quo as far as "hetero-fuckibility".  YES!! I enjoy them a lot. At the same time, I also enjoy fucking men (as well as women), and my general aesthetic and demeanor is super duper femme (which is still up for debate in terms of whether that's a socialization thing, a past life thing, or just a subjective preference thing).

    Enter burlesque. Now, burlesque opens doors for me because as a hyper femme who is a drag-lover by nature (I refer to drag by the general definition as a term for "dressed as a girl"), the idea of disregarding what

    MEN

    might think is sexy and instead deciding what

    I

    think is sexy is extremely appealing, especially in  the exaggerated level of hyper-sexual lingerie. It's an exercise is reclamation.  What's hilarious is that most of all drag comes from different changing eras of what was once found attractive but then ws pushed aside to make room for the next, thus proving that fashion, allure and style are all fluid and not to be taken too seriously. I can twist all forced and learned beauty standards from all the eras to make them MINE; pull and push and pick and choose and stretch them to fit my own subjective ideals, tastes, tendencies, body. My own personal version of fabulous, tongue in cheek. Then I add my other qualities in layers like words, wit, passion, politics, humour, talents... MY way. Then I take them ALL to the stage and I give my audience PERMISSION to look at me, watch me, enjoy me, hear me. I am not in the checkout at the grocery store. I am not walking down the street. On stage, as in the bedroom with a lover, I am freeing myself. I am giving you the option to see me as a sexual being when and where I choose to. I am in my sexual power. I am representing myself as a multi-layered, dynamic, real woman. It's basically me re-writing the script of my every day reality.

    Now as an entertainer, I always want the audience to be entertained, but also I want (hopefully) for this to help build broader scopes of beauty and power; to bring something to them that feels three dimensional and not pure powerless inane sextoy bullshit. New brushstrokes so that in turn people are inspired to run with their own flavour. An expansion for use in the daily struggle. The idea is to hopefully free everyone a little from trying to fit the pornstar fuckability mold (which is EXHAUSTING, I HATE IT) while still admitting that we all want to feel fuckable. Cuz I love to fuck. I do. And straight-up rejecting all beauty aids or pretending that I don't want to be desired is unrealistic, unsustainable and kind of dishonest.

    SO that's where my liberation comes from. That's why it feels like progress to me. Ummmkayyyyyy???

    Now if we can just get our unbleached assholes onto a bigger platform things might start getting interesting. Heh heh heh ;)

    Hold tight Sasspumps. See you at the Art Gallery Saturday.

    Huge love & panther growlzzz.

    xoxo

    CP

    Sh*t I'm Thankful For

    I've been spending a lot of time alone lately... doing chores, reading, walking. Exercising. Singing. Getting things right in my head. Practicing my performances. (Still always floors me how practicing make you better at things - without fail! So simple. Amazing). As my mother once so accurately observed, for someone oft considered an extrovert, I'm quite introspective. She always made us do that thing around the table at Thanksgiving dinner; you know, where everyone has to take turns saying what they are thankful for. I still remember the little turkey I made in pre-school with a giant pine-cone I picked up off the ground up in Smithers; little construction paper feathers sticking up out of the layers. It was put out on the table every year well into my teens. What a great little kid craft idea. I wonder if she still has it.


    I have a billion things on the list right now but a lot of them are minor and random, like for example I'm pumped Esthero is finally working on a new album (called Everything is Expensive, which I fucking love) and I'm really into Coconut Bliss vegan hazelnut fudge ice cream (trust me on this, it is AMAZING. Get some. Go). What can I say... I tend to derive the greatest pleasure in the details. In the end though these are the five biggies.

    First and foremost, I am thankful that my sister is alive. I am tremendously proud of her for continuing to fight and heal in the face of a vicious and merciless addiction. I am so, SO grateful that she is here today. She is a survivor and a warrior and a fighter and she inspires the shit out of me. I think about her every day.

    My sisters, my sasspots, my gentlemen, my mentors, my heros, my loves, my mirrors, my inspiration, my heart... my family. You make me the trillest, the richest. Thank you.

    I am increasingly grateful to understand that there are beautiful and unseen subtleties and complexities in all living things, and in people who choose to represent themselves to me in any form. In turn I understand that my projected stage persona does not represent the entirety of who I am and I'm very grateful to have not been seduced into losing myself into any ultimately self-limiting illusions, despite of my vivid imagination and considerable ego. I am so grateful that that my boots - and heels - hit the ground. I really wanna keep 'em there.


    I am insanely, unfathomably grateful for the opportunity to live the way I want to without apology. That I am not necessarily expected to marry a man, bear a child, sleep with my boss, wear conservative clothing or, horror of horrors, hold my tongue. Seriously. Who would I be? I don't even know if that person could exist. Honestly. I know this is not to be taken for granted EVER in our world, and that many have fought for this for me. I am grateful to be a sexually overt performer and a stripper without being shunned, shamed, harassed or written off as stupid, sinful and desperate by the majority of the population. Just two generations ago, I know it was a very different story. I am grateful that I am able to live as I choose.


    I am very, very thankful for my voice, and for all the gifts with which I was blessed as a human. I am grateful that these gifts were fostered by my mother, and that they were given fire and purpose by my experiences with my father. I am grateful that I have the courage to do what I feel I am meant to do. To me this is the only real way to show gratitude to the universe for what I have been given, and so I will continue to do share these gifts to the best of my ability. Forever.

    Thank you.
    <3

    xoox
    CP

    Post Riot Grrl Manifesto

    WHOA mad blog-withdrawal. I think it's just cuz I've been in music-land and new website-building land and also house-hunting and packing-moving land... unfortunately that shit takes time (where is my cabana team). I don't mind it so much though, all part of the general life upgrade.. you're supposed to work for things to enjoy them fully right? And who knew that kickboxing and the patriarchy go so well together? Not to be even more of a bitch cliche but uhhh... I love that shit. Also it's a fabulous opportunity to wear my vintage Puma wrestling boots. Ideal.

    Moving means loud tune listening, and I've been back into the grunge / punk / riot grrl music action like whoa. And just in case you are one of those obnoxious people born in the early nineties (arrrgh, you never get my jokes or Hallowe'en costumes, I was THE BEE GIRL!!!), here is a reason why I keep using two r's when I spell "grrl". Nope, it's not cuz I'm retarded or because I saw some cool chick spell it like that on her blog... actually, oh shit. Wait a minute.

    Ok so technically it wasn't a blog, it was a zine, but that was basically the early nineties' answer to the blog, only like, wayyyy harder to do so it was about a billion time cooler. Cuz you had to be fucking dedicated to get your shit together to type something out, find drawings for it and then get it together to steal (I mean borrow) someone's copycard and photocopy it and then staple it and stuff it or whatever and then mail it to say, oh I don't know, some random Canadian prairie capital where a pissed=off, overly-sexed mentally-frustrated teenager with purple hair and bad jewelry awaited EVERY SINGLE WORD. Cuz yah. Doing all that pretty much reeks of effort. Thank god all I have to do now is just type some shit, copy paste some pix / music and as you can see, I can barely find the time to do that. So I think we've established that chicks like Kathleen Hanna who put together the

    Bikini Kill zine

    were wayyy baddass.

    I must tell you that IF YOU HAVE NOT READ

    THE RIOT GRRL MANIFESTO

    you are simply missing out on a key part of Crystal Precious.

    Go ahead, read it. If you've read it, read it again. I'll wait for you.

    ...waiting....

    Yay! Good job. Now imagine 'lil ol' me... always that the chick wanting to talk about music, obsess over music, listen to music, wanting to be in a band, go to every rave ever, dance to music, make music... and really not seeing too many other girls doing that. Especially in my high school. Like, none. Just dudes giving me weird looks and telling me I was fun to party with and that I should wear skirts more. Uhhh....

    Don't forget we weren't all connected by a click of the mouse back then. If you lived in the middle of the Prairies, you had access to cable TV, select mags, music and that was it. Anything else you had to dig for. I think I was 16 or 17 before we had dial up, I didn't even have an e-mail address until I graduated from highschool. So reading this in print was the first time I'd ever heard anyone ever say anything like this, much less write it in a tangible form, and I knew as I was reading it it had been mailed out to thousands of other girls (I mean grrlz) just like me. It was kind of a big deal. It made things seem possible. It changed my life.

    Of course I'm not the kind of person to follow someone else's mantra to the letter, and these days I'm thinking about this in the context of whole new category of underground performance art / community building. I also have much more complicated thoughts about capitalism and about how our general economic structure affects the way we relate to one another, and how women, especially women with high media profiles, fit into that. But aside from those mental amendments I don't think these manifesto words have ever left me. The truths and hopes and resolves they instilled in my little teenage heart are as clear to me as on the first day they settled there. I am forever grateful to them and to Ms Hanna for making me feel like I wasn't the only grrl on the planet. It made me excited to meet new grrlz and maybe team up with them and maybe... make some music.

    Sooo first thing's first... I started skipping highschool a lot (best decision of my life, seriously) and found some theatre / music kids to hang out with, some of whom I'd met through the raves and inner city house parties. Hanging out with like-mindeds made me feel a little braver. Consequently I started my first band at 15 with Steve Ferminiuk on bass, David Gregoire & Mitch Delot on guitars, and a serious metal kid on drums. We were called... wait for it... Sodom & Gamorrah. Severe right? My dad thought we were super annoying. Lots of screaming and leather. It was perfect. Mostly originals, we had songs called "Cancer" and "Mrs. Alexander". We also did a few covers...

    "Long Snake Moan" from PJ Harvey's To Bring You My Love album

    , for example. Not gonna lie, I'm simultaneously relieved and saddened that no evidence remains of good ol' Sodom. This was obviously before Pro-Tools and Logic or even the common ownership of laptops. We played our debut show in the basement of a bingo hall near Grant Park Shopping centre (I wonder if that was where I got the idea to put on burlesque shows in halls. Might've been. We got away with murder there). After that it was Ozzy's in the basement of the Osbourne Hotel, the all ages metal bar under the Zoo. Someone there saw me do my thing and later at a party asked if I would try out for the band that would ultimately became Moses Mayes (it was called Supershagg then). I was 16. They liked me. Yeah both bands were pretty much all dudes, but still. It was Winnipeg and I had a band. And they let me do what I wanted, for the most part, I wrote all my own vox and lyrics. And so CP took her first wee steps.

    Lately I'm finding I'm kind of scratching my head again. It's like, oh shit, Oprah quit... phewf, we still have Tina Fey. But its weird because I've spent a lot of time figuring out how to NOT be pissed off about sexism in my industry (and yes, many pills of ecstasy were consumed during this period.... works great, try it out). My conclusion is that I think some people are taking advantage of the irony card now. Like, there is so much un-PC satirical humour out there now that some assholes are relying on the assumption that people will just trust that they are joking when actually they aren't... they are just being really sexist. And the fact remains that mainstream media is still what SUPER impressionable 12, 13, 14 year-olds are seeing, regardless as to whether they will ultimately find solace in some alternative sub culture... or whether they will even want to. And while I have to laugh at blatant sexism when it's just absurdly offensive and therefore impressive in its uncensored glory, I don't want to be doing that as often as I am lately. Like, still not really laughing at the c-rap hip-pop music videos. They're not even trying to be ironic. Like really???? STILL?????? I wrote my rebuttle to that like 9 years ago. Big surprise that I'm kind of narrowing my eyes a bit and writing rhymes that feel like they belong in a Sodom and Gamorrah song.

    Was this happening the whole time I was at the rave? How come the gays have like 9 channels now and we're still oiled up doing crotch moves in the Akon video 80 times a day?

    I really love posting

    this Cazwell video

    because my good friend Isaac said something I think is probably really true about it... straight guys watch this very video and feel the same way that we feel every time we see a video-ho video. Try it. It's an indescribable feeling... not all bad, but definately unsettling. One difference though is that the dude in this vid has the distinct advantage of obviously being the one in charge here. In the flip version the females wouldn't be in charge and would be sitting on everyone's laps. Also I can't embed this vid from YouTube because its flagged as adult content. Think it'd be flagged if it was chicks? Fuck naww... you'd be watching it at 9:30 in the morning on MuchMusic while you eat your Wheaties and get ready for school. Just calmly pointing that out. NBD.

    Again, it's

    CAZWELL'S ICE CREAM TRUCK

    . Just try it out. Now imagine having to see this sort of thing EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE EVER, often SEVERAL TIMES A DAY. See why it starts to fucking piss us off after awhile?

    In other news, I totally need some ice cream now that is completely unrelated to this video. I swear.

    big love and grrrrrrrrl growlz

    xoxo

    CP

    PS: If you are in Vancouver this Friday and you are not on the giant steampunk pirate ship party cruising around the city as the sun sets, I seriously question your judgement. LIKE SERIOUSLY. This will be epic beyond all things conceivable. Boarding starts at 7pm, we set sail at 8pm. 750 Pacific Blvd. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

    The Crystal Precious Bitch Grrl Guide to Voting

    Whattup,


    So whatever, apparently the Canadian government is putting ELECTIONS in the middle of my sooooper busy schedule. HELLOOOOOOO, this is supposed to be the most joyful time of year (aka the Burlesque Festival). G-strings are snapping, heels are clicking, Dress-Sew is cha-chinging and my giddy hand-clapping / air-humping speeds are increasing with staggering velocity. Obviously it's like SO distracting to have to see Stephen Harper's SUPER unsassy face like 80 times a day and hear about his evil plans to destroy everything that I hold near and dear (i.e. art, trees, gays & abortions, so you know, basicially shit I need to live). SO FUCKING INCONVENIENT.


    I guess this means that even though I'm totally swamped with UBER-important duties like making undies shaped like pie, smuggling crystal-encrusted toilets over the border and talking to the press about bloodwrestling, at some point I'll need to put down the glue gun, go to an offensively colour-schemed gymnasium and put a check next to someone's fucking name so that the Harper government doesn't futher impede my ultimate life's work of being really, REALLY fucking fabulous. Sigh.


    I figured that if you're anything like me (i.e. barely dressed and sort of drunk most of the time), you'll probably also find this idea somewhat unappealing. So I've come up with a step-by-step program designed to help alleviate any questions, efforts and general distaste around this whole "voting" business so that you can just get 'er done and get back at it. After all, exercising our democratic right doesn't have to suck THAT much. Right?


    I give you:

    The Crystal Precious Bitch Grrl Guide to Voting - By Crystal Precious


    Step 1 - Ignore all election propaganda EXCEPT MINE.

    Moooo hahahahahah. Ok really though, I know this is a ballsy-ass bitch thing to say, but uhhh... we have met right? I mean, you can read and research all that shit if you want to, but unless you like feeling overwhelmed, infuriated, bored and FRUSTRATED by all the biased-anyway shit on the internet and in the press, lemme tell you a secret: for THIS ELECTION, plain and simple, it's all about bringing Harper down. Dude is prety much living in the stone-age... he's the ultimate homophobic arts-raping capatilist war-mongering douche nozzle. He nose is so far up Bush's ass that you know he's about to start building pipes from the tar sands right into Washington's frickin' helicopter gas tanks. DO NOT TRUST THE BEEDY EYES. Case in point: anyone who needs to take pictures of himself with a kitten to prove he's not evil has "OVERCOMPENSATION" screaming from every pore. You just can't argue with me on that one.


    Now beyond my dramatic psycho-hose-beast rant insults (soooo satisfying), this sums it up: just because I like wearing DRESSES from the 50's doesn't mean I feel like RE-defending our right to choose, working for equal pay or eating pussy if I feel like it, UMMMMMMMkayyyy??? I'm too busy. MMmmffffmurgle.



    Step 2 - Figure Out Who To Vote For by going to http://www.projectdemocracy.ca/ and typing in your postal code.



    It might seem sketchy to blindly follow the advise of this site, but it's pretty legit. If this were any other year I would encourage you to "educate yourself, make your own decisions, really get in touch with how you feel, blah blah blah", but honestly, because of the support the Conservative (Harper) govenment has with religious and brainwashed old-school voters, voting for the candidate you actually believe might actually not be helpful this time around. The need is to defeat the Conservatives / "Tories" in enough ridings to prevent Harper's evil minions from getting the most seats in parliament and therefore being able to dominate the vote on every bloody decision with smug little smiles from hell. Sometimes that means voting for some asshole you probably wouldn't have. Fine. If I can tolerate Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy for seven fucking seasons, I'm pretty sure I can vote for a Liberal if I have to. Luckily I live in a riding where an NDP win is pretty much guaranteed so I don't have to. But I would. PS: Faith = so hot.


    Step 3 - Grab your ID


    ... if you can find the pants you were wearing on Tuesday when you last went out drinking, which I can't but whatever. You can also grab some mail with your address on it, or your health card and someone with ID who is willing to swear you live where you live. Either one works.


    Despite what you may have heard, it's SO RIDICULOUSLY easy to register and vote. It's wayyyyyy easier than other annoying things, like, say, flagging down a server at Foundation, ordering a fancy coffee when you're stoned (SO HARD) or convincing the Fido assholes that it's NOT FUCKING WATER DAMAGE. You can register at exactly the same place and time of voting right before, or online.


    Just click on the damn link:

    http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&dir=faq&document=faqvoting&lang=e#a1


    It tells you what you need as far as ID (tons of options, I'm sure you have one of them), where to go and when. It's very easy and clear. Even my mom could do it and she generally has a panic attack about anything related to computers or the internet. Sorry Mom. You're getting better. I love you.


    Step 4 - Make a plan as to WHEN YOU ARE GOING to vote. Enlist partners in crime who will shame you to follow through.


    This way you have someone to help you get your shit together on the day of in case you get really busy being hungover or (shudder) working. I find that it's helpful to promise yourself rewards and or / fun activities to do do afterwards with your voting friends, i.e. Tristan and I are going to vote together & then we are going to Ghetto Mall to look at new fun hooker shoes (yayyy!!!). TRY not to plan the time you are voting near the last minute, because inevitably you will get distracted by the delivery guy or the end of True Blood or the seductively growing comments list on your recent status update (that FB shit is evil, I swear these fuckers are trying to get us to miss our whole damn lives).


    Step 5 - Vote damn you.

    Once in the afore-mentioned ghastly school gymnasium, just keep your eyes on the prize. Ignore all the muggles who are muttering under their breath at you. They're just jealous of your outfits. They can't actually smell the whiskey on your breath or see the glitter from last night's show still smeared on your eyes, TRUST ME. And if anyone gets too close, just yell "YAY CANUCKS!" (apparently that's some hockey team... it will distract them and make them like you, at least long enough for you check the right box and shove your ballot in the slot thing).



    Step 6 - Feel great about being PATRIOTIC and laugh maniacally when Stephen Harper FAILS to OPPRESS US


    I recommend a deep, deep belly laugh beginning with MOOOOO HAHAHHAHAAHHAHhahahahaha. Honestly though, I mean, really. You can't chuck a glowstick without hitting a burlesque dancer or a raver in the face these days, right? IF WE ALL VOTE, there's no reason that fucker can't get put right back into MINORITY seating and stay away from our gahdamn right to be the suuuuuuuuper fabulous queer lovin' birth-controlled arts-loving stripping sasspots we are deep, deep down inside. SO DO IT. Or I will have sadface, and that's not attractive.


    I love you all. See you at the polls.


    kittens n' kix

    xxoo

    CP


    This is how showgrrrlz feel about you Stephen.. so stop getting your face in the way of our high heels and LET. THE. KITTEN. GO.

    A small note about consciousness.

    Ummkayy... it just feels wayyyy too fucking trivial to post my Shambhala blog while thousands scream so hard into the desert across the world. Sitting here in my happy little zebra print corner, tucked full of Nature's Path organic oatmeal, listening to carefully plucked pieces of the seventies... trying to decide when I've seen enough through the little magic screen on my lap. Such a precious princess. And everything through the angled window; the access to which I now suddenly notice I've been taking for granted.

    I've turned the sub back onto the sound system that used to thump alongside my Ari Gold moments in Dollhouse's pink office. Usually I turn it off at night so the baby upstairs can sleep. Side note: I have this feeling that if I ever have a baby, she'll NEED bass waves to sleep. We'll have to put her across the house from the turntables so they can hit her properly. Dream.



    That ol' inner conflict wails around inside me about social consciousness... you know. Hiphop, events, speech, existence. Usually the conflict doesn't get much air time. I start feeling around the darkness and then decide I don't like it. How bout we light it up with glitter and lasers and music instead? Yayyyy. It normally takes me about 5 minutes to reach this decision. Another convenient camouflage of the last little fibers of insecurity I feel around my profession; trying to fit them all into the solution somehow. It's like stuffing a headdress into a parachute bag.

    What can I say? I'm a good time girl. A weapon of mass distraction. It's just what I'm best at. Or so voices tell me.

    Back to the conflict. See? Distraction. I'm good at it ;) SO how conscious is conscious "enough"? Do I have to strip to stop the war or can I just be entertaining? Is escapism really senseless, or is escapism senseless just in excess?

    I would argue the second on both counts. The thing is that when I hit the party, straight-up, I don't want anyone's morals shoved down my throat along with my pill and whiskey shot. I deal with everyone else's opinions all day, my whole life. And really - it's not like when I open my make-up case I suddenly forget that I'm alive.

    I think that for me, sometimes I just want to be around people who know there's more to a person than what she presents in a pretty pink blog. That there's more to a person than a measure of one's met expectations. That there's also richness, thought patterns, feelings, contributions, reactions... sensitivity to pain and hunger. You know, like, humanity and stuff. Those basic universal aspects that make us just like everyone, everywhere.

    And then I want to catch the eye of someone on the dance floor and acknowledge that the two of us are busy having one of those moments of freedom... physically, mentally, creatively... and that we are so so so so lucky. We are So. Fucking. Lucky.

    I am so lucky.

    It's not much to know I guess. But I'm conscious of it.

    xoxo
    CP

    The Crystal Precious Fabulous Guide to Being Fabulous. By Crystal Precious.

    Woke up rock-star styles this morning at Brotel (affectionate term for house of many bros) surrounded by fun awesome hotties and vinyl. Pretty rad. I actually immediately puked though because I'm SUCH a classy babe. I haven't puked in like, 2 years so you know it was a good night. Cut to me catching myself in the bathroom mirror, full-on still wearing fake lashes and rhinestones and hotpants and these dope Puma wrestling boots that OUT OF NOWHERE showed up at Dollhouse one day and never left. Typical Sunday morning uniform. Time for eggs.

    Every once and awhile I realize how much the DH gave me and continues to give me every day of my life. Like, wow. And obviously I don't just mean in ideal footwear... but I'm not discounting those gifts either. Prime example, after two years of watching those wrestling kicks chill in the lost & found... I slipped them on and angels sang from above. I was happier than Cinderfuckingella. I'm such a lucky bitch. It's INSANE. I give thanks. Trust.

    OH YEAH, I got to see The Gaff last night and hang out a bit, record collector supreme. Prairie boy after my own heart. Can't deny it, there's something about those funk-lovin' Homebreakin' kids that just gets me right in the heartface. Such sweethearts, and funny as fuck. Woodhead has been killing it lately too, I fucking love that guy. He's actually one of the first people I ever met in Vancouver... almost 10 years ago.

    Whoa.

    Has it really been 10 years since I moved from the Peg that cold-ass January with my random cardboard boxes and a steamtrunk full of books? Yeah. Why the fuck I thought heavy-ass books would be a good thing to move I don't know. But I was 19. I knew nothing. And you know, on that note I have to say that I'm HELLA stoked to hit the big 3-oh this year. My twenties have been HARD schooling... although I always wanna keep learning, obvsies, or I'd be like, super bored. But the survival stuff, the grindstone, paying the dues, the blood and sweat and tears and anguish of getting through those little voices that say "you can't you can't you CAN'T... you don't deserve it, or you're not ______ enough, or that just doesn't HAPPEN for people, you can't, can't, you can't make it happen.... etc etc etc." THAT was the hardest part. For me getting over that shit was harder than any other aspect of anything, harder than all of the proverbial elbow grease. After you finally kick the shit out those voices it's alllll gravy, like a slip n' slide down a river of rainbows. But it took me a long hard time to squish those little fuckers. Sometimes they still try to make noises but I got good heels on me now. They stay down.

    When you think about it my dream (now my life) must have seemed somewhat implausible, I suppose. I mean, I'm a neo-cabaret performer, for eff's sake. I fucking STRIP-HOP for a living. It's my FUCKING JOB to wear neon orange pumps and host parties and toplessly swear about the patriarchy and spin ass tassles and shit. So basically I'm now undeniable next-door neighbour proof that the implausible is still possible. Might not be easy, but it's possible. And wow, has it ever been worth it. I'm proud that I hung in there, although there were some times my doubts started poisoning everything like autotune. I guess at the end of the day sometimes you just gotta turn the radio off... and put your dope friends' music ON.

    I'll always have roots here. I'm a BC bitch for life. The West Coast is just where my head and my body and my heart feel the bestest... always... something about nature, I don't know. :) What can I say, I'm a hippie and shit. But lately I'm SO SO SO SO looking forward to getting out there and terrorizing cities far and wide. I just wanna tear a STRIP outta the world, literally. I wanna to see castles and ruins and eat exotic cheeses after shows in old old OLD theatres... I want to hold my hands up to the walls of the OG Moulin Rouge, stretch on pianos like Deitrich and spit rhymes like Dante. I want to drip in Grecian pearls, run my hands over Italian leather and click heels on cobblestone streets. I wanna feel bass in different hemispheres. I want to spread my sass wider than legs on Sunday morning. And then I wanna come home and dive into the ocean and wash it all off in the studio. And dance. And dance. And dance.

    ADVENTURE TOWN, darlings. I'mma run for mayor. True story.

    These new tracks are the first step I think... lovin' em. There's some really interesting (and surprising) words coming out of me right now and I'm just sitting back and tyring not to get in my own way. The imagery comes next, twisting up some hard-core future pin-up shit. After that I gotta figure out the live show, still obviously working with the Sweet Soul grrls as well. The music is working more and more into the hosting aspects of the burlesque shows and that's dope. It's all fitting together. So it may be some group jaunts, but also the flexibility of doing some solo missions here and there as well. Might be nice to just bust a move with a good technically skilled DJ and hit clubs on a sprawl, like a East Coast leg or a Cali trip. Two turntables and a microphone. Add some tassles. Boom. Done.

    So yeah. If I'm not blogging as much or being as out on the town it's cuz I'm scheming happily in the sass cave with a mechanical pencil and a plate of home-made guac. It's all coming out, just in different ways and on my own time... it's good. And personal development is high on the list for me right now. Physical shifts for me as well. I'm training. I'm prepping. I'm making room.

    Recently I was re-reading some of my old blog posts (remember MYSPACE, omg, so OVER) and came across this one... thought I'd re-post it cuz I feel that 25 year-old CP was pretty cute. Not gonna lie. I know, SHOCKER.

    love love love
    LOVE. really though. (love)

    xoxo
    CP


    Crystal Precious' Fabulous Guide to Being Fabulous. By Crystal Precious


    'Sup.

    SO lately (okay, so maybe not just lately) it has come to my attention that my fabulousness levels are going totally off the chart. Also my delicious narcissism, but I've never denied that (just remember the key, just because I think I'M fabulous doesn't mean that I think you're not, ummkay? I realize that being fabulous doen't mean being a snobby elitist bitch from hell, although playing the part can sometimes be fun if done so with proper amounts of satirical irony, But you all know this already).

    ANYWAY, in due accordance to rule number 12 in my 12-Step Guide to Being Fabulous, I've felt passionately compelled to compile the following tidbits for anyone that wonders, "How DOES Crystal end up being so fabulous ALL the TIME? GOD It must be hard." Well, actually, no. No it's not.

    Welcome to

    CRYSTAL PRECIOUS' FABULOUS 12 STEP GUIDE to BEING FABULOUS

    by CRYSTAL PRECIOUS.

    1. Say the word ..Fabulous.. as much as humanly possible. Say it at home, at work, in dinner, in bed.. say it so much that your friends make up drinking games where they have to take a drink every time you say it.

    2. Make sure that your friends are complete lushes. It's best if your friends have dedicated nights for being a lush (for example, Cara Milk has a "Lush Night" every Thursday at the Sweet Soul Designs studio where her employees are enjoy manditory cocktails or red wine. FABULOUS).

    3. When arriving at a party, immediately peruse the floor for cheese platters and upon finding one, park your bag / purse nearby. This reminds you to go back for more cheese in case you accidentally get drunk.. you think to yourself, "Where's my purse, is my purse okay.. oh! I forgot about the cheese!" Very convenient.

    4. Always wear clothing that is border-line too small for you. If you accidentally shrink something or gain a few extra pounds, throw on an extra special garter and WEAR THAT FUCKER ANYWAY.

    5. Try to encourage your extremely good looking or interesting friends to be in a constant state of undress. Examples: Throw underwear/lingerie parties, produce burlesque shows, make your apartment a pants-free zone, and make out with as many of them as possible. Trust me, it just seems to make everything better.

    6. Always have at least 8 HAG-fags around to tell you how fabulous you are. It's best if at least three of them live in your apartment building or neighborhood. They should be well-dressed, well-spoken and have all of the Madonna DVDs that you don't own so you can borrow them. If they protest at being called HAG-fags, tell them to deal. Nobody ever asked YOU if YOU liked being called a hag. And they've been calling you that since like, the nineties. Ummmkay? Mwah! Deal.

    7. Have a fabulous roommate that's a talented artist/designer/intellect who enjoys cooking delicious exotic dinners and purchasing good quality wines. This comes in handy when spending time being fabulous at home. It's also good if they happen to own leopard print chaise lounges. That's definitely a plus.

    8. This one is important. NEVER wear lipstick that transfers on anything. I firmly believe that lipstick belongs on lips and that's where it should stay.. none of this wine-glass-joint-passing-collar-rubbing smear festival. We live in the scientific age, people! We deserve lipstick that's 100% cock and sandwich proof. Get a forever-lasting lipstick (the MAC one is shit, I warn you. Surprising, I know, since all their other products RULE. But their long lasting lipstick you can never get it off and it makes your lips all dry and flakey. Get the Revlon one. Colorstay Overtime in Forever Scarlet, aka my near-constant hue). IF you are one of those sensitive skin types and you simply can't deal, blot it up or wear something sheer. This allows us to wear lipstick at all times, i.e. to brunch, getting coffee.. I've even worn lipstick while camping and occasionally, while having bubble baths (I am so dead serious, you can ask my mom even). Whatever, just make sure it doesn't get everywhere. It is FO.. SHIZZLE a necessity of fabulousness, I feel.

    9. MAKE SURE to have updated photos of yourself close at hand. Remember .. glossy 8 by 10's make excellent Christmas gifts! What better way to congratulate your fabulous friends on having such good taste by offering a hot sassy pic of yourself to grace their walls?

    10. DON'T pay any attention to anyone that accuses you of being superficial, un-PC, trivial, blah blah blah. Remember: you are intelligent, aware of current events, have a deeply rooted sense of responsibility to planet earth and all of its inhabitants, and acknowledge that things like high heels were at some point rooted in patriarchy, they're uncomfortable, yadda yadda. It's just that you happen to like high heels. Because they're fabulous. And you understand that it is your absolute RESPONSIBILITY to indulge in things you truly adore, whether that adoration is a product of skewed socialization or not. Because you're fabulous. (By the way, you should not, by any means, feel the need to defend yourself to any critics.. you're too busy. Being fabulous.)

    11. Try to avoid polar fleece. I'm sorry, but polar fleece, while temptingly comfortable, is just not fabulous. I have to admit I myself have broken this rule once .. but the item also had fun fur and zebra stripes, so I figured it didn't count.

    12. Smile genuinely a lot. This is easier to do when you are happy, excited or stoned, so put yourself in these situations as often as possible, or any others that trigger the reaction of knowing how fabulous you are. See, it's all a big happy circle. OF FABULOUSNESS

    There is also a bunch of other shit I haven't covered, like training cabana boyz, NEVER feeling guilty about eating and drinking whatever you want, having sex whenever you want with people that fit your fabulousness standards, and all of that.. but I kind of feel that that shiz is a given and it would be like, embarrassing to have to actually WRITE it. Um, yeah.

    ABOVE all, remember the law of numbers! It's WAY easier to be fabulous when you..re surrounded by fabulousness. I speak from experience. So please, encourage your friends to indulge in being fabulous.. It's SUPER underrated.

    Except by me.

    kiss kiss
    xo
    CP

    Summer Of Sass: Part 2 - JULY - BASSCOAST

    So the problem with setting yourself up to write about something so precious and then leading up to it with MAD, SHAMELESS hype is that inevitably you get slammed with a champion-shized helping of un-ignorable shit-to-do. This blog entry got totally sidelined into a corner to hang out with the package I said I'd send to my mom like, 8 years ago and that giant pile of costumes-to-be... one day I'll learn how to sew, I swear to fucking god. Also I'll learn to keep my hot pink mouth shut about what I'll be posting about before I can actually make time for it. Although you know me. I like to open that pink mouth of mine. Heh heh.

    You know what? Fuck it. Boring shit like invoicing can wait a sec. Here goes.

    BassCoastProject - The Sequel was easily the best festival of the year for me, and quite possibly the best festival I've ever been to. OH SHEEEEET... yes I DID say that. I'm not joking either. There's a magic about these three BassCoast ladies that draws you in like 80s Jack Nicholson. They got this game locked down. Pay attention to their shit.

    First and foremost - the setting, no compromises. And trust me, putting on a party in Squamish Valley is not easy; there's some grumpy old people there who like their peace and QUIET, ummmkay?? These bitches managed to make it happen anyway. Now, blah blah, you know I'm from Winnipeg and you're probably ready for the same old crap about how mountains and NON-brown rivers (gasp!) and trees and pro hockey teams and everything are a really big deal to me. GUESS WHAT. Doesn't matter if you grew up on Paradise Fuckin' Island... Squamish is just straight-up jaw-droppingly spectacular. It's pretty much the prettiest place on earth. Period. The end.

    Now imagine a time when temperatures were high, sunshine was rampant, booze was flowing and clothing coverage levels everywhere were really really small. Sigh. Summer. The Squamish valley lays before you like a waiting lover. A fresh, crisp river of sass flows softly along the bottom of your frame of vision and pools into a soft sandy bank, where you dip and swim and grill your bronzed backside at perfect leisure.

    Now picture there's an ideally raised sandbar sticking out of the river in your visions' forefront, and that several very attractive half-naked people have lugged eight thousand party-enhancing items onto it. There they sprawl, blissed out with the deep pleasures of simply existing on the West Coast, waiting for you to come share a laugh or two. Welcome to Party Island.

    You feeling me yet? GORGEOUS mountain peeks kissing blue blue sky all blanketed in rich lush greenery spreading out as far as you can see... and in front of it some suuuuuper hot guy is running up and jumping on a skimboard to shred a spray of liquid sunlight up into your horizon. You giggle because after catching your breath to take him all in, you realize he's doing it kinda sideways... and you wonder if maybe he just did just a little bump of ketamine. Oooo those boys.... aaand BAIL. Yeah probably. Heh heh heh.

    You turn to see a couple cute topless girls swaying their hips in time to the deep n' delicious bass waves hitting the water from the stage. Looking back you comtemplate going to dance... but then you see little blooms of cracked CDs lining the trees like sparkly flowers and decide maybe you feel like exploring instead. Perhaps a meander back to camp to make yourself a beverage. Grab that hash n' tobacco number you rolled earlier. A re-up, if you will.

    Pathways take you from the Moroccan hooka tent to a massive hand-crafted pirate ship floating shredded sails high above sets of stacks; you carefully move through the crowd towards the splintered star burst platform and then up the spiraling forest trails to different camps all filled with friendly, intelligent, hot-looking people that you just seem to know. And they're all doing SUPER FUN stuff. Everywhere. All the time.

    So in case you're just tuning in, BassCoast was DOPE DOPE DOPE. Such rad cross-representation from different crews along the coast... Van. Sunshine Coast. Squamption. Whistler. Pemberton. Cali. Portland. Good repping from the close Calgary crews as well. Different than Shambhala (which of course has its own qualities altogether which I'll get into in my next blog)... but BassCoast just had this inclusive intimacy and attention to detail; a specific and tangible magic.

    I can't stress enough how STOKED I was that they really focused on local talent. FINALLY I felt like these women putting the show on understood that uh, actually, the people making music here are WORLD-FUCKING-CLASS and that we should maybe take a sec to honour that and fucking enjoy it instead of spending every ounce of hype, money and energy on giant headliners all the time. Think about it for a second. Mat the Alien? Puhlayse. KING. Vinyl Richie? Legend. And I mean, when was the last time Max Ulis DIDN'T show up a headliner he opened for? Uhhh, fucked if I can remember. Daega or Self Evidents tunes mad me grind lower than anything I've ever heard before. I've always said that this burly-q girl learned to bump in the moshpits... but it was DEFINATELY deep bass music that taught me my grind.

    Adam Shaikh? Win. Neighbour? Genius. LongWalkShortDock? Don't even get me started. ALL TOGETHER??? Come ON. And I haven't even mentioned the Calgarians or the Kootenay crews or the Whistler kids or the Cali fam yet. Unbelievable. For real. There's so many names I wanna drop that I'm just gonna post the whole frickin' line-up again cuz it was BRILLIANT - and guess the fuck what - almost entirely LOCAL.



    Honestly, sometimes I wonder if it's even truly conceivable to me how much awesomeness is squirting us right in the face over here. I gotta give the BassCoast girls mad props because they NAILED that. Especially because the music is super diverse and not everyone gets the dubstep thing.. and not everyone is open to the 4/4 thing, in response. I think it's hilarious because I am passionate about all of it and I get to hear all sides... then I just wanna go dance. But I think the girls are still working with that and trying to finetune the line-up and the back and forth between the stages so it works ideally and is smooth.


    I'm also super happy about how it wasn't all about DJ glorification, because I'm kind of bored of that. I mean I LOVE music obvs, and hot DJs, TOTES obvs, but here the stages were works of art in their own right and the forest was super beaming with awesomeness from all kinds of contributors and mediums.. everything from what people were wearing to how they were moving... live painting, Mcing, a live band here and there... covered.

    And then there's the vibe. I don't know about you, but if I'm gonna go to the trouble and the expense and the energy to go to an event like that, at least for me, there's some stuff that "I wanna". Insert pouty princess face here (just kidding). But for real. For it to be a quality escapism experience for me that truly refreshes and resets my sass levels, a couple things need to go down in my head.

    First, I wanna feel excited about interacting with the people there.

    Second, I wanna feel like there’s shit to explore, places to discover, settings to peak my curiosity, inspire me, make me feel like I'm are in a different world than the one I experience every day.

    Third, I wanna feel like at some point, I can let go. I wanna just be happy to be alive. I wanna feel like any drama and difficulties and struggles and injustice aside, the world is an unfathomably wondrous place and that there is so much beauty around me that I can’t believe I get to experience what life has to offer on a daily basis. You know, that feeling you try to make stick.

    Aside from that, I wanna feel a sense of unity with the people around me. Like I'm a part of something bigger, like I'm are among people that understand and accept and forgive me for all the things about myself that I'm not quite sure fit into "the real world" I was born into.

    And then I wanna be provoked to contribute to this sense of sanctity; to trust that if the people I'm so close to can share the things that come out of them, I can too. Even if I'm just getting started, or evolving, or attempting, or whatever. You know?

    Yeah yeah, surprise surprise, I’m a big fucking hippie raver. Whattya know. (Don't die of shock, just settle down now). But believe me when I say that I'm being 100% genuine. Now imagine for a sec what a tall order it is for ALL of those things to happen at a party, and now imagine how rad it must have been that I actually felt all of those things go down in my heart.

    Right?

    K I'm just gonna do one more thing and go ahead and give a few sentences worth of props to Michael Red's sunrise set on Monday morning. Ask anyone who was there - it was thick magic. Just the vibe confirmed to everyone this sense that, well, uh, us here arty kids... we actually make up a real COMMUNITY, not just a scene. And it just seemed so perfect to look around at everyone so elated and blissed out on each other and being together. I'm serious though! Please don't barf. It was awesome. We all swayed around with giant Chesire grins on our faces while the sun started to kiss the earth and one of Vancouver's most respected future-music pioneers carefully squeezed little hearts out of the speakers.

    I'd just never felt SO INSPIRED to go home and CREATE after a festival. My good friend Dano and I drove the whole way home in silence, all dreamy-like... ACHING to get home to write... him music, me words... and we both agreed that Bass Coast was IT. The highlight. The future. What's it that Kelsey Faery calls it? The JUICE.

    Anyway. I wanted to give huge propz to these women who somehow made that festival happen for me and for so many of the people I love. I really respect them. And I know what they do isn't easy... it goes wayyyy beyond the obvious tasks of decorating a tent or booking a headliner. It means canvassing for unobtainable permits, coming up with non-existant money, becoming a politician to your colleagues and (occasionally) a warden to your friends (never fun).

    It also means keeping the flame burning bright even when it's cold and raining and yucky out and maybe last weekend someone set fire to your stage by accident (which barely affected the party because everyone was having such a great time anyway, but still). FOR THE LOVE OF SASS, I'm here to say... keep that fire going ladies. I think I can speak for many when I say that we fucking love you and appreciate what you do so so SO much. Thank you for being the glue that bring us together. It's so so SO of the rad. High sass ups. Foreves.

    Speaking of burning. My friend Karlis, who, btw, incurred about $800 in traffic fines to drive his self-built mobile-sauna up to the BassCoast festival this summer (love him... but man do those BC police sure do need a sense of humour), was telling me that one of the things that bothers him a bit about the Burning Man community is that all too often, some of most creative, inspiring and rad people he knows are suddenly putting all their free time and resources into the Playa instead of bringing that same fire into their everyday universes. As someone who has yet to venture to Black Rock City and who thinks often of many beloved peeps who will most likely never go... I'm REALLY grateful for projects that are bringing magic to everything around them all the time. It's the dopeness.

    Okay here's some pix:

    A sic shot of the valley:


    Big love to my ever-loving domestic/platonic husband Shamik for always getting great shots and bringin' em home:



    Nothing but hot sass in one direction...



    ...and the other...





    Tank Girl (see Female Action Hero of the Mother Flippin' Moment, right of blog text) playing at sun-down.



    here's one of the Librarian from the back..



    and here's one of the BassCoast stage from the front (at least this is what the stage was looking like to most people at this point, heh heh heh)



    Here's one of me rapping at the Pirate Ship stage..



    ...it was super gorgeous, a true Pirate collab (I think Kelsey at the helm). Chili Thom and Ace (Foxy Moron) killing it 45's style all Sunday morning.



    Shamik & I chilling over coffees Sunday after K-Tel's Sunday Sermon before jamming a bit onstage:



    Me lounging with the Bitchin' ladies (where the crap have THEY been all my life) and Kristi, who regularly gives people sick boners. Party island is starting to happen there in the background..



    Who's that in the water? This shot got caught by Eradik...



    Me dipping my bitz in the river & schnapped by Brian Keith...




    The sun over the flag... sigh. L'amour.




    Click here to see ome AMAZING shots by Rebecca Danielson, who's SUPER talented... just click through to her Flickr set. I really like these shots, they are amazeballs.


    See if that warms y'up for a minute like so many homemade perogies.

    ;)
    MWAH
    xoxo
    CP